The study of comets in our solar system has been extensive, but we're only just scratching the surface of their mysteries. As shown here, with the impact of NASA's Deep Impact mission at Comet Tempel 1 in 2005, we dug a bit deeper than a comet's surface. NASA's James Webb Telescope, however, will be a little more subtle in its cometary studies. | Comet encounters

NASA's Next-Generation Telescope: Ace Comet Hunter?

How does a comet come to life and then fade away? This is one of the questions comet-hunters hope to answer with the James Webb Space Telescope.

November 3, 2015
1:00 PM EST
Artist's conception of the James Webb Space Telescope. | NASA
Carbon dioxide is not visible in pictures of comets from Earth, such as this one of Comet Neat in 2004. | NASA
A model of our solar system showing (from center) the sun, Earth, the asteroid belt and Jupiter. | NASA/ESA/STScI
Artist's illustration of the path Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko -- the comet Rosetta is studying -- as it goes through the solar system. | NASA/JPL-Caltech
Comet 103P/Hartley-2 (in an image) along with an artist's illustration of its 2010 pass through the inner solar system. | Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD. Illustration: NASA/Steele Hill