Soon after the Stardust mission flew in close and collected tiny samples of comet dust in Jan 2004 from the comet Wild 2, the spacecraft was placed into hibernation mode – only to be awakened for occasional health status calls. A proposal to extend the mission into Stardust-NExT suggests the spacecraft be sent on a trajectory to encounter comet Tempel 1. The main objective of this mission would be to image the crater left behind by the Deep Impact mission of 2005. That mission did not manage to image the resulting crater due to the huge amount of dust blasted off from the impact (pictured above-left) which blocked the view until well after DI’s cameras were out of range to see any details on its surface. The final decision on this extended mission is expected this May/June and should it be approved… it is expected that Stardust-NExT would reach Tempel 1 at some point around 2010.