Comet Tempel 1 a minute after being struck by Deep Impact's impactor on July 4, 2005 (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD)

Comet Tempel 1 a minute after being struck by Deep Impact’s impactor on July 4, 2005 (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD)

After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA’s Deep Impact/EPOXI mission has officially been brought to a close.

The project team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The last communication with the probe was Aug. 8. Deep Impact was history’s most traveled comet research mission, having journeyed a total of about 4.7 billion miles (7.58 billion kilometers).
“Deep Impact has been a fantastic, long-lasting spacecraft that has produced far more data than we had planned,” said Mike A’Hearn, the Deep Impact principal investigator at the University of Maryland in College Park. “It has revolutionized our understanding of comets and their activity.”

via An Unexpected Ending for Deep Impact:Universe Today.