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Latest Stardust Stories

Image 1 - NASA Developing Comet Harpoon For Sample Return
2011-12-14 10:29:44

[ Watch the Video ] The best way to grab a sample of a rotating comet that is racing through the inner solar system at up to 150,000 miles per hour while spewing chunks of ice, rock and dust may be to avoid the risky business of landing on it. Instead, researchers want to send a spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, then fire a harpoon to rapidly acquire samples from specific locations with surgical precision while hovering above the target. Using this "standoff" technique would allow...

Image 1 - Hyperactive Hartley 2 Has A Split History
2011-10-04 12:20:12

The latest analysis of data from NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft shows that comet 103P/Hartley 2 is hyperactive in terms of the material it spews out, compared to the other comets observed up close to date.  The comet also shows surprising diversity - ice on the comet´s sunlit surface is found in patches that are isolated from areas of dust. In addition, one lobe of the dog-bone shaped comet may have lost much more of the primordial material from the formation of the comet than the...

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2011-08-09 09:35:00

Researchers found more evidence that meteorites can carry DNA components created in space. The latest research indicates that certain nucleobases reach the Earth on meteorites in greater diversity and quantity than previously thought. "People have been discovering components of DNA in meteorites since the 1960's, but researchers were unsure whether they were really created in space or if instead they came from contamination by terrestrial life," Dr. Michael Callahan of NASA's Goddard Space...

2011-05-31 12:11:00

HAMPTON, Va., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When a newly announced NASA mission to collect an asteroid sample returns to Earth, all eyes will be on the last few minutes of the seven-year flight. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) This phase of the OSIRIS-REx mission announced this week is called entry, descent and landing, and it's the job of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., to make sure it works. Images and video at...

2011-05-25 15:54:00

DENVER, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA has selected the University of Arizona to lead a sample-return mission to an asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx team is led by Dr. Michael Drake, Director of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. will manage the mission for NASA. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will build the spacecraft. The OSIRIS-REx mission is budgeted for approximately $800 million, excluding the launch vehicle. The...

2011-05-25 15:00:00

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA will launch a spacecraft to an asteroid in 2016 and use a robotic arm to pluck samples that could better explain our solar system's formation and how life began. The mission, called Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, will be the first U.S. mission to carry samples from an asteroid back to Earth. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) "This is a...

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2011-04-06 06:30:00

By Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona The discovery of minerals requiring liquid water for their formation challenges the paradigm of comets as "dirty snowballs" frozen in time. For the first time, scientists have found convincing evidence for the presence of liquid water in a comet, shattering the current paradigm that comets never get warm enough to melt the ice that makes up the bulk of their material. "Current thinking suggests that it is impossible to form liquid water inside of a...

2011-03-25 11:53:00

DENVER, March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA's Stardust spacecraft, built and flown by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), sent its last transmission to Earth at 4:33 p.m. PDT (7:33 p.m. EDT) Thursday, March 24, shortly after depleting fuel and ceasing operations. During a 12-year period, the venerable spacecraft collected and returned comet material to Earth and was reused after the end of its prime mission in 2006 to observe and study another comet during February 2011. The Stardust team...

2011-03-25 09:58:00

PASADENA, Calif., March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Stardust spacecraft sent its last transmission to Earth at 7:33 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 24, shortly after depleting fuel and ceasing operations. During an 11-year period, the venerable spacecraft collected and returned comet material to Earth and was reused after the end of its prime mission in 2006 to observe and study another comet during February 2011. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The...

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2011-03-25 07:35:00

After 12 years of providing NASA with lessons about our solar system, the Stardust spacecraft has sent its last commands to burn off all its fuel. In its final moments, the spacecraft continues to teach us. The "burn to depletion maneuver was designed to fire Stardust's rockets until insufficient fuel remains to continue, all the while downlinking data on the burn to Earth some 312 million kilometers (194 million miles) away," released NASA in a press release. Based on the Stardust-NExt...


Latest Stardust 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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