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NASA declares Deep Impact spacecraft lost
Posted: Sat, Sep 21, 2013, 10:15 AM ET (1415 GMT)
Deep Impact spacecraft illustration (NASA/JPL) NASA announced Friday it had given up on efforts to try and recover the Deep Impact spacecraft, which had been out of contact with controllers since last month. The spacecraft, launched in 2005 to fly by the comet Tempel 1 and deploy an impactor probe, had been on an extended mission since the July 2005 flyby, flying past the comet Hartley 2 in 2010 and performing other studies of comets as well as extrasolar planets. Earlier this month, project officials said they had been unable to communicate with the spacecraft, and feared it was out of control. The cause of the failure isn't known, although NASA said in a statement Friday that a potential "computer time tagging" issue could have caused attitude control problems with the spacecraft, preventing it from orienting its antenna at Earth and its solar panels at the Sun. Scientists had hoped to use the spacecraft to perform observations of comet ISON later this year.
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