From NASA JPL: “Deep Impact Spacecraft Eyes the Future” 

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Have you recently tuned up your car? NASA makes sure stuff works.

“December 01, 2011

Deep Impact Mission Status

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft completed a 140-second firing of its onboard rocket motors on Thursday, Nov. 24. The rocket burn was performed to keep the venerable comet hunter’s options open for yet another exploration of a solar system small body.

‘The burn was right on the money. Not bad for a spacecraft whose prime mission successfully concluded in 2005,’ said Tim Larson, Deep Impact project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “We’ve logged a lot of miles and at least one comet flyby since our ’05 encounter with comet Tempel 1. With this burn, we keep the door open for Deep Impact logging even more miles and exploring more small worlds before all is said and done.”

Last Thursday, Larson and his Deep Impact team watched from their mission support area at JPL as their spacecraft began the maneuver at 4 p.m. PST (7 p.m. EST). The spacecraft’s two-minute, 20-second burn changed its velocity by 19.7 mph (8.8 meters per second). If NASA approves a third mission extension for Deep Impact, a second rocket burn will be executed next fall.”

Note to NASA: The recent deficit super committee debacle in Washington means possible debilitating budget cuts to D.O.E labs and NASA missions. Please get your friends and followers ready to write, email, phone, congressional representatives and senators. It’s not all High Energy Physics, Astronomy and deep rocket science. A lot of it is life saving biology and chemistry, clean renewable energy, and climate. All supported by tax dollars.