This illustration shows an artist concept of the NASA Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
CONTOUR Lost in Space
News story originally written on August 27, 2002
We are sad to report that CONTOUR is lost in space. The CONTOUR spacecraft was launched July 3, 2002 to explore the nucleus of comets. It was to take pictures and catch dust from the nucleus of at least two comets.
CONTOUR was 140 miles above the Earth when communication between the spacecraft and Earth was lost on Aug. 15, 2002 when its rocket ignited to boost the spacecraft out of Earth's orbit.
By searching the skies with a giant telescope, scientists found three objects at the place where CONTOUR should be. CONTOUR was in one piece, so these pictures may mean that it broke apart into three pieces.
Mission controllers may have lost CONTOUR but they have not lost hope! They will continue listening for signals from the spacecraft until December.
Last modified August 27, 2002 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
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 sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more
Trees and plants are a very important part of this Earth. Trees and plants are nature's air conditioning because they help keep our Earth cool. On a summer day, walking bare-foot on the sidewalk burns,...more
There is something special happening in the night sky. Through mid-May, you will be able to see five planets at the same time! This doesn't happen very often, so you won't want to miss this. Use the links...more