Latest Stardust Stories
Just as kits of little plastic bricks can be used to make everything from models of the space shuttle to the statue of liberty, comets are looking more and more like one of nature's toolkits for creating life.
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.
A report released Tuesday blamed a design flaw for the 2004 crash of a NASA space probe carrying solar wind atoms back to Earth and criticized engineers for failing to detect the error.
Over the past five years, three space missions -- Deep Impact, Deep Space 1 and Stardust -- have provided unprecedented information about comets. However, the sometimes conflicting data from these missions have scientists questioning almost everything.
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?
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.
NASA on Thursday canceled a mission to visit two asteroids five months after the program was told to stand down because of cost overruns and technical problems.
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.
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.
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.
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...
- totally perplexed and mixed up.