Artist's rendering of Deep Space 1's encounter with Comet Borrelly

Deep Space 1 encounter with Comet Borrelly

Culminating a two-year extended mission, Deep Space 1 encounters the nucleus of Comet Borrelly on September 22, 2001. Flying at 16.5 kilometers per second (36,900 miles per hour) through the planet-sized cloud of gas and dust hiding the 8-kilometer (5-mile) nucleus, Deep Space 1 acquires pictures and other scientific data on this exotic object.

In this artist's concept, jets of gas and dust can be seen shooting from the nucleus.

Launched in 1998 to test high risk, advanced technologies (including its signature ion propulsion system), Deep Space 1 was the first mission of the New Millennium Program. New Millennium missions reduce the cost and risk of subsequent space science missions while providing them with important new capabilities. Following its highly successful 11-month technology mission, Deep Space 1 changed from a flying testbed to a scientific explorer. It acquired the best photos yet taken of a comet nucleus during its encounter with Comet Borrelly.