Latest Donald Brownlee Stories

2011-02-13 14:45:00

Stardust NExT must love comets. On Valentine's Day the spacecraft will get up close and personal with its second. It's been seven years since the original Stardust danced with Wild 2 out beyond the orbit of Mars, capturing a thimbleful of comet dust in its collector. It's been five years since the craft jettisoned its sample-return capsule and its precious cargo for a landing in the Utah desert. On Monday the probe will make history again in a 125-mile embrace with comet Tempel 1. It...

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....

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...

Word of the Day
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.