Applause erupted in EPOXI Mission Control at JPL after the spacecraft transmitted close-up images of comet Hartley 2.


Rich Reiber: About 30 minutes ago, we began routing images to a software suite onboard the spacecraft called AutoNav.

AutoNav analyzes these images and determines where the nucleus is and then feeds this data to the attitude control system, which in turn points the spacecraft so the nucleus is in the field of view of the cameras.

All right, our first image from closest approach has been saved to our file system.

You can see we're all staring at the screen waiting for our software to pick up that image and display it. We're all here in anticipation.

Michael A'Hearn (through ear mic to mission team) -- the left screen flashes red, and the next images should be the high resolution.

(oohs and ahhs from mission team, clapping)

A'Hearn (through ear mic) -- Congratulations on a fantastic flyby. Good job everybody.

NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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