NASA's Stardust-NExT mission completed its Valentine's Day "date with a comet" with its flyby of comet Tempel 1 on Feb. 14. The spacecraft's closest approach came at approximately 11:40 p.m. EST on Feb. 14.
An imaging sequence of about eight minutes is expected to yield 72 high-resolution images around the time of closest approach for best-resolution coverage of Tempel 1's nucleus. At the time of closest encounter, the spacecraft was expected to be approximately 124 miles from the comet's nucleus.
Scientists hope to see any changes on the comet's surface since it was visited by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft in July 2005. Since then, Tempel 1 has completed one orbit of the sun, and scientists are looking forward to discovering any differences in the comet.