Romantic Valentines Day Encounter Looms with Icy Comet

NASA’s Romantic Rendezvous in Space on Valentine’s Day – Feb. 14 The planned Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2011) rendezvous between NASA’s Stardust-NExT mission and Comet Tempel 1 inspired this chocolate-themed artist’s concept. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Video and graphics below illustrate the icy encounter and animate the flyby trajectory. NASA TV: Live Coverage listed below Update: See below the latest navigation camera images taken on Feb. 11 – newly obtained from JPL. These images are crucial for precisely aiming Stardust-NExT

At last, NASA embraces a romantic rendezvous in the dark void of deep space.

And soon the whole world can watch the up close meet up of the hot Stardust probe and the volatile, icy comet. The historic space tryst is just a day away!

The Stardust-NExT spacecraft successfully hot fired its thrusters for the final course correction maneuver (TCM-33) on Feb. 12, setting up the fleeting celestial encounter with Comet Tempel 1 on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, Monday, at 11:37 p.m. EST. The space science probe will fly by the speeding comet at a distance of approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) and at a speed of 10 km/sec.

Naturally, the fleeing comet is icy, unpredictable and exploding with jets of gas and dust particles. (…) Read the rest of Romantic Valentines Day Encounter Looms with Icy Comet (1,498 words)

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(C) Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | No comment | Add to Post

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