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Deep Impact camera blurry
Posted: Fri, Mar 25, 2005, 8:27 PM ET (0127 GMT)
Deep Impact spacecraft illustration (NASA/JPL) Images taken by the camera on NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft are slightly out of focus, NASA announced Friday, although the space agency downplayed the problem. In a mission status report issued Friday afternoon, NASA said that images taken by the spacecraft's High Resolution Instrument (HRI) during post-launch tests revealed that the camera had not reached perfect focus. The test images were taken after a "bake out" procedure that heated the camera to remove residual moisture from its barrel. Project officials said a team is looking into the problem, which will not affect the spacecraft's encounter with comet Tempel 1 in July. Even if the camera's focus does not improve from its current state, scientists said that the camera will still provide the best images to date of a comet. Deep Impact, launched in January, will fly past the comet while an impactor probe separates from the main spacecraft to collide with the comet's nucleus on July 4.
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