View Full Version : Discussion: Stardust Gets Ready for Comet ...

2003-Dec-31, 09:23 PM
SUMMARY: In less than 2 days, NASA's Stardust spacecraft will fly past Comet Wild 2 - on January 2 at 0740 UTC (2:40 am EST). The spacecraft has already entered the comet's halo; the cloud of dust and gas surrounding its nucleus. This is a dangerous part of the journey because the spacecraft could collide with particles from the comet which are moving at 6.1 kilometres per second. In order to minimize any damage, Stardust has several shields made of composite material which dissipate the energy from colliding particles. The spacecraft will collect particles from the comet and then return them to Earth in 2006.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Jan-01, 12:39 AM
I hope they thought to include instruments to measure electrical currents/charged particles, because the "gas" surrounding comets is mostly a plasma. I hope the probe is tough enough to get results back and I hope they will find interesting stuff.

2004-Jan-02, 08:01 PM
Been following the live coverage of the flyby from JPl flightcenter and it all seemed to have worked well. Just waiting for a nice close-up of the comet nucleus.

2004-Jan-02, 10:54 PM
stardust survived it! :D it's now just on way back to earth with collected sample in capsule.
next 2 year......

2004-Jan-03, 10:38 AM
Wow, what a sight, this comet is even more heavily pitted than comet Borelly; let the scientists chew on this! How can something as small as a comet have impact craters (and if, how can they survive them)? This looks nowhere near the caverns that spew forth the comet's tail; if you ask me this is more evidence for electrical scarring. No doubt we will soon hear from the experts, scratching their collective heads over the images talking about how this will help us understand the history of the solar system. I can't wait to hear what they think.

2004-Jan-03, 01:44 PM
I'm sure if the universe was electrical in nature, people like einstein and hawking would have realised.

2004-Jan-03, 03:08 PM
They are/were the most brilliant scientists, but even the most brilliant people have to work from what they know. If everybody is convinced that gravity alone rules the Universe, then it needs novel techniques or conflicting data to start a new model. Maybe we should ask Hawking what he thinks, but I think we just have to wait and see what will happen, let's just keep an open mind to the possibility that we don't know all there is to know (not even the big picture) and let's enjoy the new pictures and data from the space probes.

Polly V
2004-Jan-03, 03:49 PM
Wow I just saw the picture of Wild2, amazing. Very relieved that this mission has faired better than other recent missions but I haven't given up hope on the Beagle 2 , i have hope for Jan 7th.

Maybe I'm just very naive, but who would of thought riding into a comet's tail, is easier( maybe not the proper word to use) than landing something on Mars. I would like to think that pathfinder was not a fluke and in my heart of hearts I know that it isn't.

As an aside i just realized I'm no longer a dust speck but a fully fledged asteriod. I don't recall agglomerating, coalescing with any other specks or have aggregates condense. More importantly why do i always was miss the fun stuff. :P

2004-Jan-03, 07:42 PM
It certainly faired better than the "Destroyer Ship" in Deep Impact <_< .

2004-Jan-04, 02:16 AM
yes it did, and better than one of the ships in Armageddon&#33;