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View Full Version : Stardust: No more than 50,000 kilometres from 81P/Wild 2



yaohua2000
2004-Jan-02, 05:06 PM
2004-Jan-02 17:02:44 GMT: Stardust is no more than 50,000 kilometres from the comet 81P/Wild 2.

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/

Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-02, 05:49 PM
Moments ago...
http://homepage.eircom.net/~jackcelestia/files/mod/stardustflyby3_badastro.jpg

Simulation done by Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/), addon my own (see this celestia forum thread (http://63.224.48.65/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4077&highlight=) for details).

Watch the flyby in real time 3D!

SarahMc
2004-Jan-02, 07:55 PM
Live coverage on NASA TV has stated that a close approach (100 miles)has been succesful, with all spacecraft experiments functioning properly. Images from the close appraoch should be available soon.

Another great success. Let's hope that Stardust makes it home without any unforseen problems.

Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-02, 08:06 PM
Great! :D According to spaceflightnow.com there will be a press conference at 23:00GMT - can't wait to see the images! And of course, hopefully everything will go to plan with the very important sample return too!

Sigma_Orionis
2004-Jan-02, 08:30 PM
Cool!. they did it :) I remember watching (through the Web in 1999 of course) the launch of Stardust and 2004 seemed so far away.... :lol:

aurora
2004-Jan-03, 12:19 AM
I watched the press conference too. The first picture they showed looked great, it will be interesting to see over the next few days if they have anything better (the pictures have all been taken, but we have to wait for them to be transmitted).

I'm also interested to find out how many dust particles they captured. I think they will know that soon, too, since there is a sensor on board for that purpose.

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Jan-03, 12:25 AM
www.space.com already has an image of the nucleus up. Amazing. The craters are all shallow, which is what I would (naively) expect from an icy body; a crater will generate heat, and the crater will fill up with fluid. It depends on the gravity, though, so I'm not sure if this explanation is good or not. I guess we'll find out soon. Kewl news.

By the way, the American Astronomical Society meeting starts in two days, so expect more cool news then.

Superluminal
2004-Jan-03, 12:31 AM
Notice in the over exposed image on the right, on the upper right of the nucleus, looks as if there may be a faint jet pointing sunward. Fantastic =D>

Chip
2004-Jan-03, 07:23 PM
I visited my sister over the holidays - she works part-time as a lecturer at the Denver Science Museum. She described the material they're using to collect comet dust. Called "Aerogel," it is amazingly light - 98.8% air and just 0.2% silicon dioxide, yet it is capable of slowing down and capturing comet particles that strike the Stardust craft at 14,000 mph. Aerogel is also used as an insulator on the Mars rovers. When the capsule containing the samples returns to Earth in 2006, it will be exciting to see what they discover about this material that hasn't been altered by entry through Earth's atmosphere. (Why am I reminded of "Andromeda Strain"?) 8-[

BTW - regarding Comet 81P/Wild-2, "Wild" is pronounced "Vilt" after its discoverer.

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Jan-03, 07:32 PM
A scientist on the Stardust team was saying that the craters may be jet pools (I don't remember the exact phrase he used), not impact craters. It's where the gas comes out from inside the nucleus. Cool.

Also, I have some aerogel. :o A guy sent me a small sample years ago. It's incredible. It's also a little dangerous; it shreds, and can be irritating like fiberglass. I keep it under wraps. Someday I'll figure out a use for it!

Russell
2004-Jan-03, 09:38 PM
Cool stuff, good science.

semi-sentient
2004-Jan-04, 06:15 AM
Also, I have some aerogel. :o A guy sent me a small sample years ago. It's incredible. It's also a little dangerous; it shreds, and can be irritating like fiberglass. I keep it under wraps. Someday I'll figure out a use for it!

Where can we get some? :wink:

Charlie in Dayton
2004-Jan-05, 04:57 AM
Also, I have some aerogel. :o A guy sent me a small sample years ago. It's incredible. It's also a little dangerous; it shreds, and can be irritating like fiberglass. I keep it under wraps. Someday I'll figure out a use for it!

Where can we get some? :wink:

SiO2 Lite! Look for it in your favorite gubmint surplus outlet, right next to the $500 hammers and the $6000 toilet seats! 8-[