Just 2 weeks ago, the CONTOUR probe, launched July 3, was beginning its journey to two comets, one of which had broken into pieces. It now appears that the $159 million spacecraft has itself broken apart.
"I feel like I lost a relative," says planetary scientist Lucy-Ann A. McFadden of the University of Maryland in College Park.
Engineers haven't heard from CONTOUR, or Comet Nucleus Tour, since Aug. 15, when they commanded the craft to fire its solid-propellant rocket. The maneuver was intended to pl