Here's your comet news fix for this week.
- NASA's Deep Impact probe has stopped communicating with its handlers while on its latest mission to image Comet ISON. The spacecraft is famous for visiting Comet Tempel 1 in 2005 and crashing an impactor into it, capturing data about the comet's composition and some amazing images. After that, it was renamed the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact Extended Investigation (EPOXI) and repurposed to check out Comet Hartley 2 in 2010, and Comet Garradd in 2012. All in all, a great run if the mission is indeed over. EPOXI's last communication was on August 8.
- And speaking of repurposed missions, proposals for the Kepler mission, now that its reaction wheels can no longer hold the telescope steady enough to look for Earth-sized exoplanets, include the study of comets. Kepler was originally planned for a three-and-a-half-year mission, which it surpassed. Its cameras are still functioning just fine, and the proposals seek to squeeze still more use out of the telescope.