NASA Loses Contact With Comet-Hunting Deep Impact Spacecraft
NASA's veteran Deep Impact probe may have chased its last comet.
An artist's conception show's a close-up look at NASA's comet-hunting Deep Impact spacecraft.
The spacecraft's handlers lost contact with Deep Impact — which slammed an impactor into Comet Tempel 1 in 2005, made a close flyby of Comet Hartley 2 in 2010 and recently observed ISON, a "comet of the century" candidate — sometime between Aug. 11 and Aug. 14, mission team members announced last Tuesday (Sept. 3).
"The last communication was on August 8. After considerable effort, the team on August 30 determined the cause of the problem," principal investigator Mike A'Hearn of the University of Maryland wrote in a brief mission update Tuesday. "The team is now trying to determine how best to try to recover communication." [Photos of Comet ISON in Night Sky]