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Computer image showing what the probe may have looked like when landing on the comet.
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Courtesy of NASA

Comet Probe Mission is Scrapped
News story originally written on June 30, 1999

A mission that would have sent a probe to comet Tempel 1 has been postponed indefinitely. This mission, the first of it's kind, would have landed on the comet in 2005. Unfortunately, other projects have used up the money available for the program. This is the first time a mission has been scratched in 10 years.

NASA says it was just bad luck for the mission, called the Space Technology 4/Champollion project. Of all the missions planned by NASA, this one was in the earliest stages. NASA had only spent $10 million on the project.

NASA spent the majority of the $240 million set aside for the comet probe on the Hubble Telescope and the new Chandra-X Space Telescope. The Chandra-X project recently used an extra $60 million on sudden development problems. The gyroscopes aboard Hubble need repairs, which has forced NASA to send up a crew to fix it.

One scientist working on the project says we really don't know much about comets. It is too bad the program was cut, because it is very important for global protection.

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