Missions

Stardust-NExT
Overview:

After successfully completing its mission to collect interstellar dust and dust from the nucleus of comet Wild 2 and return the tiny particles safely to Earth, the Stardust spacecraft took on a new assignment. The Stardust New Exploration of Tempel 1, or NExT, project flew past comet Tempel 1, the target of the Deep Impact mission in 2005. This marked the first time NASA has revisited a comet. The return trip in a different vehicle revealed for the first time changes to a comet nucleus after a close approach to the Sun. We also got the first look at the surface of Tempel-1 after the Deep Impact encounter. The spacecraft also imaged new terrain not seen during the Deep Impact mission. Stardust-NExT was funded by NASA as a Discovery Mission of Opportunity.