Deep Impact, the first space mission to probe beneath the surface of a comet, launches. On July 3, the spacecraft jettisons an impactor that crashes into Comet Tempel 1, providing the most up-close data and images of a comet in the history of space exploration.
Cassini releases the Huygens probe into Titan’s atmosphere, revealing that the moon is remarkably Earth-like, with evidence of methane rain, erosion, stream-like drainage channels, dry lakebeds, volcanism, and very few craters.
February 9, 2005
The International Astronomical Union announces that a crater on the Moon has been named after the late Graham Ryder, who was a staff scientist at the LPI until his death in 2002. Ryder Crater is located at 44.5°S, 143.2°E. The name will be formally approved at the IAU General Assembly in 2006.
LPI releases a digital version of Lunar Sourcebook: A User’s Guide to the Moon. Published by Cambridge University Press in collaboration with the LPI in 1991, this concisely presented collection of data gathered during the American and Soviet missions is an accessible and complete one-volume reference encyclopedia of scientific and technical information about the Moon. The out-of-print book is highly sought after following the President’s announcement of the vision of returning to the Moon.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft, having traveled 8.7 billion miles from the Sun, crosses outside the termination shock and enters the final frontier of the solar system, the heliosheath, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars. It remains the most distant artificial object from Earth.
The LPI releases SkyTellers, an educational DVD designed for use in small planetariums, museums, libraries, and other educational environments. The project is a collaborative effort between the LPI and Ms. Lynn Moroney, a Chickasaw storyteller, and combines ten Native American myths with the scientific explanation of such phenomena as Moon phases, day and night, seasons, and the origin of the stars.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launches. The mission is designed to conduct eight different science investigations at Mars, including global mapping, regional surveying, and high-resolution targeting of specific spots on the surface.