DS-1 Part III: Borrelly
Amazingly, in September of 2001, as DS-1 approached Comet Borrelly, it successfully acquired the comet. I have marked the comet with an arrow. Everything else in the frame is due to a horrendous light leak. Keep in mind that the approach was made at a very moderate phase angle, so the stray light problems are not due to being pointed near the sun. The approach to Braille was looking very close to the sun, making the stray light problem much worse, and Braille was a much fainter target - no wonder DS-1 had problems aiming at it!
On September 22, 2001, while it's parent country was reeling from the September 11th attacks, DS-1 made its close approach to Comet Borrelly. This image is a long exposure to show features in Borrelly's coma.
There was talk about sending the probe on a six month "hyperextended" mission to an asteroid, but with the spacecraft being nearly out of fuel, this idea was rejected. Two months later, contact was lost, indicating that it had indeed run out of fuel, meaning that this extension would not have been possible.
Despite not being classified a science mission, DS-1 filled that role successfully, studing Braille, an asteroid which it confirmed to be related to Vesta, taking important spectra of Mars, and giving mankind what is still one of its best looks at a comet. Although it had many difficulties, the DS-1 was truly the little spacecraft that could!
Processed images Copyright Ted Stryk, Raw Data Courtesy NASA/JPL