Stardust sample “…exceeds all expectations”!

Contributed by
Jan 18, 2006

The Stardust sample container has been shipped to Johnson Space Center. When they cracked it open to look at the samples, they got a nice surprise.

"It exceeds all expectations," said Donald Brownlee, a University of Washington astronomy professor who is principal investigator, or lead scientist, for Stardust. "It's a huge success. We can see lots of impacts. There are big ones, there are small ones."

Yay! It's nice to know such a bold mission was a success. Brownlee estimates there may be more than a million particles trapped in the aerogel, which will yield a scientific bonanza about comets.

Incidentally, well over 60,000 people have signed up for studying the images of the aerogel through the Stardust@Home project.

I just found out I'll be giving a talk near Johnson in March (see the blog sidebar), and I wonder if I can wrangle a little trip to see the clean room where these guys will be stored...? That would be very, very cool, and only karmic since I missed the re-entry.

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