PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft was on track to pass within 1,240 miles of a comet on Saturday in an attempt to photograph the dark nucleus of the frozen ball of dust and ice.
The robotic probe was to make its closet pass of the comet Borrelly Saturday evening. If successful, the probe's camera was to snap up to 32 black-and-white images of the comet's heart.
Scientists back on Earth should know in about 12 minutes whether the attempt succeeded, and the first images should be available within three hours.
The probe also will attempt to learn more about Borrelly's surface, measure and identify its gases, and study the interaction of the solar wind with the comet, a process that creates the comet's distinctive tail.
Deep Space 1 finished its main mission to test a dozen new technologies two years ago.
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