Exploring the Solar System

Exploring Asteroids and Comets

What happened to the Stardust spacecraft after its primary mission was completed?

Shortly after the successful capsule return, Stardust was put in a hibernation mode as scientists pondered what to do next with the still-functioning spacecraft. It was decided to re-purpose the spacecraft on a new extended mission to go to Comet Tempel 1, the target of the Deep Impact mission, and gather new pictures and other data of the comet and its new crater. The spacecraft was re-activated, and headed for its new destination as the NExT mission (New Exploration of Tempel 1).


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