The Stardust-New Exploration of Tempel (Stardust-NExT) mission was selected by NASA as a Discovery Mission of Opportunity in July, 2007. The NExT mission uses the Stardust spacecraft to effect a flyby of comet Tempel 1 at 200 km on February 14, 2011 (39 days post perihelion) and obtain high-resolution images of the coma and nucleus, as well as measurements of the composition, size distribution, and flux of dust emitted into the coma. Stardust-NExT will complete and expand the investigation of comet Tempel 1 initiated by DI, and for the first time assess the changes in the surface of a comet between two successive perihelion passages. Stardust-NExT will also provide important new information on how Jupiter family (JF) comets evolve and how they were put together at their formation 4.6 billion years ago. At the Earth flyby in January 2006 (during which a capsule with a coma sample from comet Wild 2 was returned to Earth), the Stardust spacecraft was placed into a 1.5-year heliocentric orbit, returning to Earth in January 2009. The 2009 Earth flyby provided a gravitational assist to target to Tempel 1. A time of arrival (TOA) adjustment was completed successfully on February 17, 2010 during a 23-minute burn to delay the arrival time at the comet by 8 hours 20 minutes in order to optimize the viewing conditions at the time of closest approach on February 14, 2011. The flyby will be at a distance of 200 km and a speed of 10.9 km/sec. In addition to dust flux and dust composition measurements, imaging at a resolution of better than 20 meters/pxl will be obtained.
38th COSPAR Scientific Assembly
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