STARDUST Status Report
September 8, 2000
There were two Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes during the
past week. All subsystems onboard the spacecraft are performing
The remaining Navigation Camera (NAVCAM) images taken during the CCD
heater test were transmitted to the ground. The changes seen by
turning the CCD heater on for a week include:
- the disappearance a long dark / bright streaks running across the image
- the appearance of new dark areas, but significantly less than before
- a reduction in scattered light giving a lower variation in image
brightness and a more uniform background across the image
- a reduction in peak signal
These changes are what would be expected for improved camera performance.
However, the changes were not sufficient to resolve the filament in the
Calibration Lamp that was turned on for all of the CCD heater test images.
The Calibration Lamp was still blurred and surrounded by scattered light.
Therefore we have inconclusive results as to if and how much the
camera performance was improved. It could be that we removed some
coating on the CCD, but still may have additional coatings on the
primary optics, mirror and periscope.
Since we did not obtain sufficient improvement to resolve the Calibration
Lamp filament to quantify the changes resulting from the CCD heater
test, star images will be taken next week to see if there was
improvement of the camera point spread response to point sources. If
there is no or some improvement, additional heating sequences will
be implemented, including turning on the mirror heater to work on
potential coatings on the primary optics and mirror.
The Principal Investigator, Don Brownlee, described the STARDUST
mission at the Meteoritic Society of America meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
He will participate in a capabilities review of the Curatorial Facility
at Johnson Space Center next week.
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever
comet sample return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: