Saturday, January 14, 2006

stardust returns home

I was very interested to read about the seven year voyage of NASA's Stardust spacecraft and the planned return of its capsule in the Utah desert early tomorrow morning. Stardust collected particles from the tail of the Wild 2 comet as it orbited the Sun on its long odyssey from the Oort Comet Cloud, which is at the very edge of our Solar System. Wild 2, like other comets, are cosmic storehouses of the prime materials from the very origin of our Solar System and thus, astronomers believe that the samples brought back to Earth will help to answer some of our questions about the beginnings of our Solar System. Indeed, these primordial particles will connect us with a 4.6 billion year old past from which we ultimately came from. In the words of Moby, "We are all made of stars."

NPR online has a very fascinating look at the Stardust spacecraft and the scientists who are commanding the return of its capsule. Click the NPR logo to check it out. To learn more about the mission from a NASA point of view, please click the image above.

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