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NASA Hosting Events For Valentine's Night Comet Encounter

JPL Press Release

February 8, 2011 - PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA will host several live media activities for the Stardust-NExT mission's close encounter with comet Tempel 1. The closest approach is expected at approximately 8:37 p.m. PST, with confirmation received on Earth at about 8:56 p.m. PST on Monday, Feb. 14.

  The first image of comet Tempel 1 taken by NASA's Stardust spacecraft is a composite made from observations on Jan. 18 and 19, 2011.
  This image shows comet Tempel 1 approximately 5 minutes before Deep Impact's probe smashed into its surface. It was taken by the probe's impactor targeting sensor. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Live coverage of the Tempel 1 encounter will begin at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14 on NASA Television and the agency's website. The coverage will include live commentary from mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., and video from Lockheed Martin Space System's mission support area in Denver.

A news briefing is planned for 10 a.m. on Feb. 15. Scheduled participants are:

-Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate
-Joe Veverka, Stardust-NExT principal investigator, Cornell University
-Tim Larson, Stardust-NExT project manager, JPL
-Don Brownlee, Stardust-NExT co-investigator, University of Washington, Seattle

To cover the Tempel 1 flyby at JPL, journalists must contact the JPL Media Relations Office at 818-354-5011. Valid media credentials are required. Non-U.S. citizens must bring passports.

Starting Feb. 14 at 8 p.m., news media representatives can watch live coverage of the control room via a feed to JPL's von Karman Auditorium. The auditorium will remain open through the evening for media. Reporters who will not travel to JPL may call the Media Relations Office to make arrangements to ask questions during the Feb. 15 briefing.

Mission coverage schedule (all times PST and subject to change):

8:30 to 10 p.m., Feb. 14:
Live NASA TV commentary begins from mission control; includes coverage of closest approach and the re-establishment of contact with the spacecraft following the encounter.

Midnight to 1:30 a.m., Feb. 15: NASA TV commentary will chronicle the arrival and processing of the first five of 72 close-approach images expected to be down linked after the encounter. The images are expected to include a close-up view of the comet's surface.

10 a.m., Feb. 15:
News briefing

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