Stardust-NEXT Mission Status Report
October 17, 2007
All subsystem's are nominal as Stardust continues its quiescent cruise.
Last Friday, October 12, commands were sent to
take images using the Navigation Camera (NAVCAM)
in preparations for the de-contamination ("bake"
maneuver) on October 18. Due to the low data
rates approximately one half of the first image
has been received on the ground. Early analysis
shows the expected contamination is present.
The NAVCAM CCD heater was turned on and its
temperature reached its steady state value of
12.3 degrees C. The "bake" maneuver is expected to
increase the CCD temperature to approximately
24 degree C.
The Stardust-NExT (New Exploration of Tempel 1) mission is to flyby
the comet Tempel 1 on February 14, 2011 in order to 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. We have developed a reliable plan to update knowledge of
the rotational phase of the comet sufficiently well to have a high
probability of viewing significant portions of the hemisphere
studied by Deep Impact (DI) in 2005 and a high probability of
imaging the crater made by its impactor. The impact event produced
so much ejecta that DI did not succeed in imaging the crater.