LOS ANGELES (AP) — A spacecraft that gave scientists their first peek into a comet’s icy interior will explore no more, NASA said Friday.
The space agency declared an end to the Deep Impact spacecraft after it unexpectedly fell silent. Engineers tried for a month to regain contact, but lost hope.
Mission scientist Jessica Sunshine of the University of Maryland said she was “saddened at the loss of an old friend.”
Deep Impact put on a celestial fireworks display July 4, 2005, when it fired a projectile into comet Tempel 1. The high-speed impact carved a crater and hurled a plume of debris into space, giving scientists their first glimpse of the comet’s frozen primordial ingredients.
Afterward, Deep Impact journeyed toward comet Hartley 2, flying through a blizzard of ice particles and escaping unharmed. It later flew by the distant comet Garradd and also observed stars in search of Earth-sized…
View original post 213 more words