Stardust Finds A Gem Of A Space Particle

Feb 28, 2006
Stardust Finds A Gem Of A Space Particle

This image shows a comet particle collected by NASA's Stardust spacecraft. The particle consists of the silicate mineral forsterite, also known as peridot in its gem form. It is surrounded by a thin rim of melted aerogel, the lightweight substance used to collect the comet dust samples. The particle is about 2 micrometers across.

NASA's Stardust spacecraft was launched on Feb. 7, 1999, from Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida, aboard a Delta II rocket. It completed its primary goal to collect dust and carbon-based samples in January 2004, during its closest encounter with Comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt 2"), named after its Swiss discoverer.

Stardust's capsule containing the samples parachuted safely to the Utah desert on Jan. 15, 2005, and the mission team transported the capsule to Johnson Space Center on Jan. 17. Since then, scientists have been extracting and examining comet-dust and potential interstellar-dust particles from the aerogel collector.

Copyright 2006 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: Bright points in Sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Comet Wild2: First evidence of space weathering

Mar 27, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The traditional picture of comets as cold, icy, unchanging bodies throughout their history is being reappraised in the light of analyses of dust grains from Comet Wild2. A team led by the ...

NASA studying ways to make 'tractor beams' a reality

Oct 31, 2011

Tractor beams -- the ability to trap and move objects using laser light -- are the stuff of science fiction, but a team of NASA scientists has won funding to study the concept for remotely capturing planetary ...

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

16 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

17 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

17 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...