After launching an impact probe at comet Tempel 1 in 2005 and traveling 2.9 billion miles, the Deep Impact spacecraft has finally reached Hartley 2 as part as of its EPOXI mission. The trip was worth it: These shots are spectacular.

And the best thing is that they are not the closest ones yet. These are the first five close-up images released by NASA. More are coming, and we will updating live as they arrive. The final ones should be quite spectacular, providing incredible detail of the activity in this 1.4-mile-long comet made of water, CO2 and silicate dust. [NASA]