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2006-07-17 11:40:15

Scientists are getting their best understanding yet of the makeup of comets - not only of the materials inside these planetary building blocks, but also of the way they could have formed around the Sun in the solar system's earliest years. When NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft slammed into comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, the collision sent tons of pristine materials into space and gave astronomers from around the world, using ground- and space-based telescopes, the first look "inside" a comet....

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2006-03-14 06:45:00

SPACE CENTER, Houston -- NASA scientists have a new mystery to solve: How did materials formed by fire end up on the outermost reaches of the solar system, where temperatures are the coldest? The materials were contained in dust samples captured when the robotic Stardust spacecraft flew past the comet Wild 2 in 2004. A 100-pound capsule tied to a parachute returned the samples to Earth in January. The samples include minerals such as anorthite, which is made up of calcium, sodium, aluminum...

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2006-03-14 00:55:00

By Irene Klotz HOUSTON -- Particles from any icy comet that were collected and returned to Earth aboard a NASA science satellite show dozens of minerals that form only in extreme heat -- a finding that complicates theories about how the solar system formed, scientists said on Monday. Prevailing theories about the solar system's formation cannot explain how this high-temperature material ended up in the frigid regions beyond Neptune's orbit, the so-called Kuiper Belt where comets formed....

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2006-02-20 13:10:00

ST. LOUIS -- Scientists said Monday they have begun slicing and dicing the first of hundreds of microscopic specks of comet dust, virtually unchanged since the birth of the solar system, that a NASA spacecraft successfully returned to Earth in late January. Preliminary analysis shows the dust, captured when the robotic Stardust spacecraft flew past the comet Wild 2 in January 2004, is unmistakably cometary in origin, said Don Brownlee, a University of Washington astronomer who is the...

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2006-01-30 15:44:24

NASA -- NASA's Stardust spacecraft was placed into hibernation mode yesterday. Stardust successfully returned to Earth samples of a comet via its sample return capsule on Jan. 15. The spacecraft has logged almost seven years of flight. "We sang our spacecraft to sleep today with a melody of digital ones and zeros," said Tom Duxbury, Stardust project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Stardust has performed flawlessly these last seven years and 2.88 billion miles...

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2006-01-19 18:05:00

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- Pristine comet samples returned this weekend by the Stardust spacecraft after a 2.9-billion-mile (4.7-billion-km) journey wildly exceeded scientists' expectations, project managers said on Thursday. A canister containing particles trapped after the Stardust space probe's 2004 encounter with Comet Wild-2, pronounced as "Vilt," landed on Earth on Sunday. The samples were taken to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for inspections. "This exceeded all of...

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2006-01-17 18:43:53

HOUSTON -- The newly returned Stardust space capsule arrived Tuesday at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the space agency said scientists will unlock its internal canister and take a first peek at comet debris particles it was supposed to capture during a seven-year journey. If the $212 million mission went as planned, it may have captured particles older than the sun that could provide clues to how the solar system formed. Technicians at Utah's Dugway Proving Ground had readied the capsule...

2006-01-17 13:42:53

Please read in 11th paragraph ...any solid material from beyond the moon... instead of ...any extraterrestrial solid material... By Nichola Groom LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A space capsule loaded with comet dust was barreling toward Earth after being released by its mother ship late on Saturday following a seven-year, 2.9 billion-mile journey to recover materials formed at the dawn of the solar system. NASA's Stardust mission, which will allow scientists to study comet samples for...

2006-01-17 13:31:11

Please read in 4th paragraph ...any solid material from beyond the moon... instead of ...any extraterrestrial solid material... By Nichola Groom LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A space capsule loaded with comet dust completed a 2.9 billion mile (4.7 billion kilometer) journey on Sunday, landing safely in the Utah desert and ending a seven-year wait for clues to the solar system's origins. The Stardust mission ended early Sunday when the 100-pound (45 kg) capsule landed at the U.S. Air...

2006-01-17 13:19:06

By Nichola Groom LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A space capsule loaded with comet dust completed a 2.9 billion mile (4.7 billion kilometer) journey on Sunday, landing safely in the Utah desert and ending a seven-year wait for clues to the solar system's origins. The Stardust mission ended early Sunday when the 100-pound (45 kg) capsule landed at the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training range two minutes ahead of schedule at 3:10 a.m. (5:10 a.m. EST/1010 GMT). "We visited a comet, grabbed...


Latest 81P/Wild Reference Libraries

6_348877a21702e82deaef967e7029f7ad2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Comet -- A comet is a small body from the outer reaches of the solar system similar to an asteroid but composed of ice. Often described as "dirty snowballs," they are composed largely of carbon dioxide ice, methane ice, and water ice with a mixture of dust and small stony aggregates mixed in. Comets are thought to be small pieces of debris left over from the formation of the solar system, representing a sample of the original composition of the nebula that condensed to form the Sun and all...

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Word of the Day
call-note
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'
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