This Demonstration shows an animation of the flight of the EPOXI spacecraft's mission to two comets (9P/Tempel 1 and 103P/Hartley 2). This spacecraft used a technique called gravitational assist three times with the Earth (December 31, 2007; December 30, 2008 and June 27, 2010). Closest approach to comet Tempel 1 occured on July 04, 2005 and closest approach to comet Hartley 2 occured on November 04, 2010.
EPOXI stands for Extrasolar Planet Observation and Deep Impact eXtended Investigation.
The orbits of the planets have the following colors: Mercury: orange, Venus: brown, Earth: blue, Mars: red, Jupiter: brown. The orbit of the comet Tempel 1 is white (or black, depending on the background color); the orbit of the comet Hartley 2 is purple.