To characterize the crater produced by Deep Impact in July 2005 to better understand the structure and mechanical properties of cometary nuclei and elucidate crater formation processes on them.
Encounter and departure images taken from the Deep Impact spacecraft reveal shape of comets nucleus. Credit: Deep Impact
On February 14, 2011, at a projected distance of 200 km, the Stardust-NExT spacecraft will 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. Additionally, Stardust-NExT will update the data gathered in 2005 by the Deep Impact mission on the rotational phase of the comet.
Layering images of Tempel 1 provide clues to accretion or subsequent processing. Credit: Deep Impact