Particles gathered near a comet in deep space that are due to arrive at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, in January may help scientists better understand comets and their role in the early solar system.
NASA's Stardust spacecraft, which collected particles from comet Wild 2 in January 2004, will complete its two-year, 708-million-mile trek back to Earth in January 2006. The capsule will be transported to JSC and stored in the Stardust Laboratory where scientists will make the first analyses of freshly collected cometary and interstellar particles.
Stardust recovery and science team members met at JSC the week of Oct. 3-7 to rehearse the steps that will be involved in recovering the samples from the Stardust capsule. A canister was transported to JSC and placed in the Stardust clean room.
There, scientists removed the Stardust sample trays and rehearsed techniques they will use to document, process and analyze the cometary and interstellar particles.
"The spacecraft recovery team and the mission science team were at JSC all week to shake down procedures for opening the sample canister and harvesting and analyzing the captured samples," said Mike Zolensky, Stardust co- investigator and NASA space scientist in JSC's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate.
The Stardust spacecraft was launched in February 1999. It encountered its target, comet Wild 2, on Jan. 2, 2004. In addition to capturing samples of cometary material for return to Earth, Stardust collected grains from a stream of particles from interstellar space.
The spacecraft will release a capsule containing the sample particles for landing at the Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range early Jan. 15, 2006.
NASA's Stardust mission
JSC Stardust Curation Team
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
Comet Tempel-1 May Have Formed In Giant Planets Region
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Sep 20, 2005
Comet Tempel-1 may have been born in the region of the solar system occupied by Uranus and Neptune today, according to one possibility from an analysis of the comet's debris blasted into space by NASA's Deep Impact mission.
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|