Stardust Status Report
May 11, 2001
There was one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass this past week and
all subsystems are performing normally.
The weekly Navigation Camera (NAVCAM) images taken while the camera was
cold (with the heaters off) were successfully taken on Monday May 7, and
showed no degradation in quality from their previous improvement.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) continues to observe
the interstellar dust stream with an optimal spacecraft attitude when not in
communication with Earth. The principal investigator for CIDA has
requested that the instrument be returned to its positive ion mode. Sufficient data
has been collected in the negative ion mode to provide a comparison
between the two modes. The instrument will remain in the positive mode for the
remainder of this interstellar collection period.
Preparations are underway to take images of the two guide stars that will
be used for optical navigation on approach to the encounter with Comet
Wild-2. On June 4th, the spacecraft will be in the same position as it will be
during the Wild-2 encounter in December 2003. The spacecraft's +X axis
will be pointed in the direction of the guide stars, and will take several
images through the periscope for analysis of the camera performance. The
spacecraft will then be commanded to take images of the guide stars off
the periscope. The quality of the two sets of images will be compared, to
determine the best method to perform optical navigation during the
approach to Wild-2.
The project held its quarterly review with JPL and NASA management and
reported that the project status was excellent.
The Stardust Outreach team is planning the Stardust team's participation
in the JPL Open House, which will be May 19 and 20.
For more information on the Stardust mission - the first ever
comet sample return mission - please visit the Stardust home page: