Azara Blog: US Stardust probe lands back on Earth

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Date published: 2006/01/15

The BBC says:

A capsule containing comet particles and interstellar dust has landed on Earth after a seven-year space mission.

The US Stardust probe released the capsule as it flew back to Earth after a 3 billion-mile (4.7 billion km) trip.

The capsule plunged through the atmosphere and touched down in the Utah desert at 0312 (1012 GMT).

Scientists believe the first cometary dust samples ever returned to Earth will shed light on the origins of the Solar System.

"We travelled about three billion miles in space, we visited a comet, grabbed a piece of it and it landed here on Earth this morning," Dr Don Brownlee, Stardust principal investigator, told reporters at a news briefing in Utah.

"I fully expect textbooks in the future will have a lot of new information from the samples that landed here this morning."

Congratulations to NASA and the JPL. Hopefully there will indeed be valuable information in the samples brought back.

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