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Stardust returns after 7 year mission

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posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 12:37 AM
This Sunday, the Stardust spacecraft will return to earth after a seven year mission. Launched in 1999, Stardust was sent out to collect dust from a comet. Scientists hope to learn more about our universe by analyzing the particles.
This weekend, the Stardust spacecraft will jettison a 100-pound capsule holding comet dust. It will nosedive through the Earth's atmosphere and — if all goes well — make a soft landing in the Utah desert.

Stardust traveled nearly 3 billion miles halfway to Jupiter and back, looping around the sun three times. Along the way, it also captured interstellar dust — tiny particles thought to be ancient stars that exploded and died.

After five years, the 850-pound spacecraft finally reached Wild 2.

During a historic 2004 flyby, Stardust sped through the comet's coma — the fuzzy shroud of gas and dust that envelops it — to collect the microscopic samples. The particles were trapped by a catcher the size of a tennis racket, which has since been clammed up inside the capsule for the trip home.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Hopefully, Stardust will have a much softer landing than Genisis did. I would really like to see what scientists find out when they analize the particles. After seven years of collecting intersteller dust, they should find something that will teach us more about the universe.

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 01:43 PM
Am I the only member who stayed up watching NASA tv as the Stardust Recovery Capsule made reentry?

You guys missed out. The SRC was moving at 29,000 mph (46,670 kph) before reentry friction worked it's magic. When the drogue chute deployed, there wasn't a noticeable change in velocity. Memories of the Genesis disaster ran through my mind. It seemed like an eternity before there was confirmation of chute deployment and the SRC slowing down. It was actually less than 4 minutes. The main chute deployed at 10,000 ft, and the SRC drifted lazily to the ground. (Whew!)
I didn't go to bed until the recovery helicopter had found the SRC intact.

So... What do you think we brought back? Does the aerogel hold dust and ice, or the seeds of life, or something else?

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 03:13 PM
didn't had the opportunity for watching it live
I had to work. but I watched it in a replay
great footage.

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 05:40 PM

Originally posted by Busymind
Am I the only member who stayed up watching NASA tv as the Stardust Recovery Capsule made reentry?

Nope. I did as well. A sample return of course isn't nearly as exciting as pics from a probe either landing or orbiting another planet...But when ever I have free time to watch a Nasa event unfold...I try to.

I thought the capsule entry was allright...but Its not nearly as exciting when a lander lands on a different planet.

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 05:41 PM
I just happened to wake up about 1:30 PST and popped out to watch my northern sky until 2:00. I didn't see anything. I live in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. I can often see the Space Station when it passes over that far away, but it's 250 miles up. I was just hoping that I'd get a glimpse of it here.

Was I out at the right time? Did it, in fact, come in just before 2:00 am? I did hear what could have been a sonic boom, but could have just as easily been a gunshot a few minutes before 2.

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 06:43 PM
Yes. The SRC crossed the California coastline at around 1:57 pst. It was over California for less than a minute, though. What I wouldn't have given to have the chance to see it come in with my own eyes. (sigh) Both my hubby and son have seen a shuttle launch in person. I'm always stuck with tv. (Although tv gives a better picture, LOL)

posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 09:06 PM

Originally posted by Busymind
(Although tv gives a better picture, LOL)

lol, just keep telling yourselve that.

I havn't seen a Shuttle Luanch in person either, But I know I will some day, maybe not the shuttle though, probably its successor.

BTW, I hope Nasa keeps there luck going, for Tuesdays Pluto Launch.

[edit on 15-1-2006 by Murcielago]

posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 11:11 AM
I know that it is great to have a project complete such as this one but there is one thing that bothers me the most.

When we had this thing land on the surface of the earth wouldn't it be safe to say that it MIGHT carry something organic along with it or chemically, which could make a new virus or bactiera steaming a threat to humans?

When we do open this capsule what do you expect might come out of this. New chemicals? New doors to what really is happening to our solar systems?

What do you guys think?

posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 11:36 AM
I watched the live re entry on NASA channel.

Although the thing passed almost directly over my home, I was ready with camera..
But it was cloudy, with light I saw nothing...

posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 12:17 PM
Glad to hear that it got back safely, hopefully it will tell us loads more and not release any flesh eating bacteria.

posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 12:23 PM
Anyone read "teh Andromeda Strain"? It was one of Crichtons first books, and it was very good and aaplicable to this. I have great fascination in hoping that something of great value will have been bought back to Earth, and not a deadly virus to wipe us out.

posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 02:44 PM
The capsule is/was opened in a clean room. I'm certain that the scientists involved will take every precaution possible, because they don't want contaminated samples. Each dust particle will be sliced thin and studied under an electron microscope. (How do you slice dust?) If a captured particle of dust were actually a "seed" or an entire miniature world, slicing it into pieces should destroy it's viability. (mini-world being an example, not a speculation)

Science in general has a bad habit of ignoring anything outside of the mainstream. So if Stardust brought back something science considers impossible, like living matter, would they be able to recognise it? Would anyone be willing to risk their careers to prove it is what it is?
Consider the meteorite that was found in Antarctica. Believed to be from Mars, it contained bacteria fossils. A few scientists risked their careers and said there was bacteria living on Mars. Mainstream science reacted pretty violently to that one. Now we have the Mars rovers collecting samples of what might be fossilised bacteria on Mars itself.

I believe the greatest risk (along the lines of The Andromeda Strain scenario) is that the scientists will refuse to see risk, thinking that this cometary dust is inert, and thereby create risk. Living matter behaves differently than non-living matter.

posted on Jan, 17 2006 @ 03:54 PM
just wanted to throw in some pics to Busyminds post.

Once it landed they put in on the helicopter and brought is straight to a clean room, They arn't follish enough to open it in the freakin desert.

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