MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Martha J. Heil (818) 354-0850
IMAGE ADVISORYJanuary 18, 2001
STARDUST CAMERA CAPTURES THE MOON
NASA's Stardust spacecraft took a picture of the Moon as the spacecraft
flew by Earth on Monday, January 15, 2001. The clarity of the image
demonstrates the success of efforts to clear the camera of contaminants
that had obscured its view.
The Moon image is available at:
The picture shows the kind of detail the team expects to get when
the camera flies by Comet Wild 2 in January 2004. Stardust's images of
the comet's surface are expected to be 10 times better than any previous
picture of comet nuclei. Stardust's camera, which will be used to
navigate the spacecraft to the comet, will also take pictures with a
200-millimeter (8-inch) lens.
"We will see the size and shape of the comet and be able to detect
small craters, variations in the brightness, dirty dusty areas, and newly
iced surfaces," said Tom Duxbury, manager of the Stardust project at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Stardust will also collect dust
from the comet to return to Earth for study in laboratories.
Since the picture was composed of over 2,000 shades of gray, many more
than the human eye can detect, the Stardust imaging team reduced the image
to only about 100 shades of gray, enhancing the contrast between black and
white. The image resolves about 7 kilometers (over 4 miles) per pixel across
a 3,500-kilometer (2,200-mile) moon.
More information on Stardust is available at
Stardust, a Discovery mission, is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space
Science. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech, Pasadena, Calif.