This image obtained by NASA's Stardust spacecraft shows a side of the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 that has never been seen before; three terraces of different elevations are visible, with dark, banded scarps, or slopes, separating them.
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New Territory on Tempel 1

This image obtained by NASA's Stardust spacecraft shows a side of the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 that has never been seen before. In the image, three terraces of different elevations are visible, with dark, banded scarps, or slopes, separating them. The widest of the banded slopes is about 2 kilometers (1 mile). The lowest terrace has two circular features that are about 150 meters (500 feet) in diameter.

An inset on the right shows a closer view.

This image was taken on February 14, 2011, at 8:39:21 p.m. PST. The spatial resolution is about 15 meters (50 feet) per pixel.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft visited this same comet in July 2005 and also observed the presence of layers on the other side of the comet.

This image shows at least 90 percent new territory.

Stardust-NExT is a low-cost mission that will expand the investigation of comet Tempel 1 initiated by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages Stardust-NExT for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. Joe Veverka of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., is the mission's principal investigator. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft and manages day-to-day mission operations.

For more information about Stardust-NExT, please visit http://stardustnext.jpl.nasa.gov.

Image details

ID#:
PIA13861

Date added:
2011-02-16

Target:
Comet

Mission:
StardustNExT

Spacecraft:
Stardust

Instruments:
Navigation Camera

Rating:



Views:
2,778

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA13861.tif (1.69 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA13861.jpg (0.08 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell