NASA have ended their search for spacecraft Deep Impact, after losing contact with the vessel last month.
Contact was lost on 8 August and mission controllers spent several weeks attempting, to no avail, to reactivate the probe’s onboard system.
Deep Impact, first launched in 2005, was sent on a six month mission to investigate the composition of comet Tempel 1.
A large impactor was deployed from the probe into the path of the comet in order for the collision to dislodge particles from its surface, to be studied by telescopes and other passing spacecrafts.
Deep Impact Program Executive and Discovery Program Executive at NASA Headquarters Lindley Johnson said in a statement that despite the unexpected end to the project, Deep Impact had achieved more than ever envisioned.
“Deep Impact has completely overturned what we thought we knew about comets and also provided a treasure trove of additional planetary science that will be the source data of research for years to come,” Mr Johnson said.
After completing it’s original mission, Deep Impact was sent to observe planets around other stars from July 2007 to December 2010.
Before contact was lost, the probe was being used as a space-borne planetary, collecting images and data with it’s telescopes and instrumentation.