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:
[ST4 artist's conception]