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NASA's Going to My Comet

NASA's Going to My Comet Malcolm Hartley


October 27, 2010

Join Malcolm Hartley, astronomer and comet discoverer, as he speaks at a special von Karman lecture series event on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Back in 1986, Hartley discovered the comet that would officially be designated Comet 103P/Hartley2 (Hartley 2). On November 4, 2010, NASA's EPOXI mission will fly within 500 miles of comet Hartley and take close-up images.

Hartley is traveling from his home in Australia to be at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the encounter. Hartley will share his feelings about this flyby in a lecture that will be webcast on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. Pacific.

The EPOXI mission is using the Deep Impact spacecraft, which made its own cosmic fame when it released a small impactor into the path of comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. The spacecraft's extended mission, EPOXI, combines two objectives -- the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI), which focuses on the Hartley 2 flyby, and the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh), which used one of the spacecraft's telescopic cameras to search for planets orbiting other stars. In addition, engineers have used the spacecraft to flight-test new protocols for space communications.

More information about the webcast can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures_archive.cfm?year=2010&month=11#myComet .

Full coverage of the flyby will be carried on the web. Details can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/index.cfm?page=209 .