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Maneuver keeps options open for Deep Impact
Posted: Thu, Jul 21, 2005, 10:20 AM ET (1420 GMT)
Deep Impact spacecraft illustration (NASA/JPL) NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft performed a maneuver Thursday that allows mission managers to keep options open for an extended mission. The trajectory correction maneuver puts Deep Impact on a course to fly past the Earth in December 2007. Managers are looking at potential comets that the spacecraft could reach after making that flyby. NASA has not yet committed any funding for any extended mission, and will require project officials to submit a formal proposal to NASA's Discovery program for a "mission of opportunity" if they want to conduct one. Deep Impact, launched early this year, flew past the comet Tempel 1 on July 4, dropping a probe that struck the comet's nucleus, raising a huge cloud of dust.
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