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Stardust-Next & Comet Tempel 1

Note: Make sure you have Java enabled on your browser to see the applet. This applet is provided as a 3D orbit visualization tool. The applet was implemented using only 2-body methods, and hence should not be used for determining accurate long-term trajectories (over several years or decades) or planetary encounter circumstances.

3D interactive program that shows the orbit of Stardust-Next and Comet Tempel 1

1 AU = 1 Astronomical Unit = 149,597,871 kilometers

This interactive 3D orbital plotter has been developed to show the trajectories of the Stardust-NEXT spacecraft as it approaches and runs closely past comet Tempel 1. The orbital path of the Stardust-NEXT spacecraft is shown in red with the pink portion of the trajectory being above the Earth's orbital plane and the dark red portion being below this plane.

By running the orbital plotter forward in time, you will note that the comet overtakes the spacecraft on February 14, 2011.

The planets are white lines, and the asteroid/comet is a blue line. The bright white line indicates the portion of the orbit that is above the ecliptic plane, and the darker portion is below the ecliptic plane. Likewise for the asteroid/comet orbit, the light blue indicates the portion above the ecliptic plane, and the dark blue the portion below the ecliptic plane. Stardust-NEXT's orbit is shown in a pink/red color combination.

Orbit Viewer applet originally written and kindly provided by Osamu Ajiki (AstroArts),and further modified by Ron Baalke (JPL).

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