This is an image of comet Hale-Bopp.
Click on image for full size
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Touring the Comets
News story originally written on December 1, 1997
NASA has chosen CONTOUR as the next mission in its Discovery Program. CONTOUR stands for the Comet Nucleus Tour.
CONTOUR will explore at least three comets by flying very close to them. At one point, CONTOUR will be within 60 miles of the Comet Encke!
The comets it will focus on are the Comet Encke, Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3, and the Comet d'Arrest. The mission will be launched in July 2002 and comet flybys will go on until August of 2008.
The Discovery Program sponsors lower-cost programs. Among its achievements is the NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) program that sent a spacecraft for a flyby of the asteroid Mathilde in June of 1997.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
On June 27, 1997, the NEAR spacecraft passed very close to the asteroid Mathilde. NEAR stands for Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous. Mathilde is a large asteroid. Its diameter was estimated to be 60 km. That...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more