The high resolution images are amazingly sharp and clearly show a pockmarked and crater rich terrain of both new and previously unseen territory on the icy comets surface. The Stardust-NExT comet chaser zoomed within 181 km (112 miles) of the nucleus of the volatile comet.
See the photo gallery above and below, which is being updated as the images come back. I am enhancing and brightening certain images to show further details. The new images of Tempel 1 from Stardust-NExT surpass my expectations and look even sharper then those taken by NASA’s Deep Impact comet smasher in July 2005.
Read more about the Stardust-NExT Flyby and mission in my earlier stories here, here and here
NASA news briefing on Stardust-NExT at 3:30 p.m Feb 15 live on NASA TV
Update: Read my follow up story on the discovery of the Deep Impact crater here
Photo gallery of Comet Tempel 1 images from NASA’s Stardust-NExT comet mission on Feb 14, 2011
Images brightened and enhanced to show additional detail by Ken Kremer