WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the EPOXI mission’s successful flyby of comet Hartley 2:
“NASA extended its pioneering exploration of the solar system today with the successful flyby of comet Hartley 2 by our EPOXI mission. The stunning new images returned of the comet as it zoomed past the spacecraft at a relative speed of more than 27,000 mph are awe inspiring. The images taken and other science collected should help reveal new insights into the origins of our solar system as scientists pore over them in the months and years to come. And they are also yet another example of the incredible dedication, skill, and innovation of the engineers and scientists at NASA, and our partners, who accomplish these incredible technological feats.
“This mission represents one of NASA’s most successful deep space exploration projects. The encounter with Hartley 2 today adds to the data collected by the mission during Deep Impact’s prime mission to comet Tempel 1 in 2005 and the science acquired during the successful EPOCh mission.
“EPOXI is a wonderful example of the strong collection of NASA science missions we have coming up in the next few years that will enable us to visit destinations across the solar system in new and exciting ways, look through new windows out across our vast cosmos, and expand our understanding of our own home planet. Our increased investment in science will continue to yield valuable dividends for the future.
“On behalf of the entire NASA family and interested stargazers around the world, my congratulations to the EPOXI team for a great moment of scientific exploration and discovery.”
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