home mission science technology multimedia education media
NASA's Space School Musical
Eyes on the Solar System. Artist's depiction of comet and planets
Comet Interactive: Exploration of Small Bodies
Bookmark and Share Bookmark and Share
Stardust-NExT History
After travelling 3.5 billion miles, the Stardust spacecraft made history by capturing images of asteroid Annefrank, collecting samples of comet Wild 2 and successfully returning them to Earth, and now crosses the finish line with spectacular images of comet Tempel 1 maximizing science for years to come.

Congratulations for making this mission not only historical but memorable from start to finish.

+ Mission Brief
+ Mission Status Report
+ Why Study Comets

Primary Science Objectives
  • Document the surface changes on a comet's nucleus between successive perihelion passages.
  • Measure Tempel 1's dust properties and compare with data taken from Comet Wild 2.
  • Provide additional information on enigmatic layering and flow features discovered by the Deep Impact mission.
  • On-board instruments will image the nucleus surface and jets; count dust particles size and distribution during closest approach; and composition of dust for further ground analysis.

Secondary Science Objectives
  • Determine how the Deep Impact experiment modifies the surface of Tempel 1 (e.g., crater size).

+ More

Final SD-NExT Status Report - March 25, 2011
When last seen by the ground, Stardust's subsystems were nominal and trying to complete the Farewell Maneuver. At 18:30 (MDT) the on-board sequence issued the command to place the spacecraft into safe mode and turned the transmitter off for the last time. At that time the JPL Project Manager, Tim Larson, declared the end of the Stardust and Stardust-NExT missions.
Mission Status Reports
+ Mission status report archive from the original flight team