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SPACE TECHNOLOGY 4 (ST4)

New Millennium Space Technology 4 (ST4): As the fourth in a series of technology test flights, the ST4 spacecraft will be launched in May 2003 and rendezvous with the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 in April 2006. After several months of studying the comet's nucleus from orbit, ST4 will deploy a 160 kg spacecraft that will attempt the first landing on the surface of a comet. This lander will take high resolution images of the surrounding terrain, close up images of nearby surfaces and will drill one meter deep into the surface to collect samples of the cometary ices and dust. These subsurface samples will then be studied with instruments on board the ST4 spacecraft to determine the composition and structure of the cometary ices.

ST4 Science Instruments:
Imager (panoramic, near-field and microscopic), IR spectrometer. A gas chromatograph mass spectrometer will be included on the lander to determine the types of ices that makeup the cometary nucleus.

The ST4 project is a joint project between NASA and the French Space Agency.

Look here for additional information on the ST4 mission:

http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds4

[ST4 artist's conception]

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