Comet Wild 2, 2 January 2004.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This composite image was taken by the navigation camera of NASA's Stardust spacecraft during its flyby of comet Wild 2. To create this image, a short exposure image showing tremendous surface detail was overlain on a long exposure image taken just 10 seconds later showing jets. Together, the images show an intensely active surface, jetting dust and gas streams into space and leaving a trail millions of kilometers long. 'This spectacular composite image shows a surface feature unlike any other planetary surface see to date in our solar system', said Professor Donald Brownlee, the Stardust Principal Investigator from the University of Washington. 'Other than our Sun, this is currently the most active planetary surface in our solar system.'