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Stardust Spacecraft

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February 4, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA has deactivated most of the Stardust spacecraft two weeks after the probe jettisoned samples of comet dust -- the first ever gathered in space -- to Earth from its seven-year voyage through the heavens. On Sunday, engineers powered down all of Stardust's systems except for its solar panels and receiver antenna. The move was necessary to maintain the spacecraft and save fuel for possible future missions. The craft is orbiting around the sun. The next time it is to fly by Earth is Jan.
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February 15, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Images of comet Tempel 1 taken by the Stardust spacecraft during its Monday night close encounter suggest that the comet's surface is much more fragile than astronomers had anticipated, with major changes occurring during its 5 1/2-year orbit of the sun, researchers said Tuesday. The close-up pictures also showed an unexpected layering of the comet's interior, a feature that researchers had not been able to detect in 2005 when an earlier mission shot an 820-pound probe into Tempel 1's side.
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SCIENCE
January 21, 2006 | From Reuters
Pristine comet samples returned this weekend by the Stardust spacecraft after a 2.9-billion-mile journey wildly exceeded scientists' expectations, project managers said Thursday. A canister containing particles trapped during the Stardust space probe's 2004 encounter with comet Wild 2 (pronounced Vilt) landed on Earth on Sunday. The samples were taken to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for inspection.
SCIENCE
February 4, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA has deactivated most of the Stardust spacecraft two weeks after the probe jettisoned samples of comet dust -- the first ever gathered in space -- to Earth from its seven-year voyage through the heavens. On Sunday, engineers powered down all of Stardust's systems except for its solar panels and receiver antenna. The move was necessary to maintain the spacecraft and save fuel for possible future missions. The craft is orbiting around the sun. The next time it is to fly by Earth is Jan.
SCIENCE
January 16, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA's audacious Stardust mission, a seven-year effort to learn more about the origins of the solar system by capturing particles from the tail of a comet and returning them to Earth, ended successfully Sunday when the spacecraft's scorched capsule parachuted into the Utah desert, its cargo intact. The desk-sized capsule glowed red as it streaked across the sky over the northwest United States on its way to a 2:10 a.m. soft landing at the Air Force Test and Training Range in Dugway, Utah.
SCIENCE
February 15, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Images of comet Tempel 1 taken by the Stardust spacecraft during its Monday night close encounter suggest that the comet's surface is much more fragile than astronomers had anticipated, with major changes occurring during its 5 1/2-year orbit of the sun, researchers said Tuesday. The close-up pictures also showed an unexpected layering of the comet's interior, a feature that researchers had not been able to detect in 2005 when an earlier mission shot an 820-pound probe into Tempel 1's side.
NEWS
February 7, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
An alarm went off just before a rocket was to blast off with NASA's comet-chasing Stardust spacecraft, delaying the launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., by at least one day. Sporadic dips in current were detected in the Boeing Delta rocket beacon with less than two minutes remaining in the countdown. The beacon is needed to track the rocket during flight. NASA tentatively rescheduled the launch for this afternoon.
SCIENCE
December 6, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Forty-nine days before its historic rendezvous with a comet, NASA's Stardust spacecraft successfully photographed its quarry, comet Wild 2, from 15.5 million miles away. The image, the first of many over the next four weeks, will aid Stardust's navigators and scientists as they work toward a Jan. 2 fly-by and collection of samples from Wild 2. The ball of dirty ice and rock, about as big as three Brooklyn Bridges laid end to end, was detected Nov. 13 by the spacecraft's navigation camera.
NEWS
November 24, 2000 | From Associated Press
A NASA spacecraft on a seven-year mission to collect comet dust survived a zap from an enormous solar flare this month. The Stardust spacecraft was hit Nov. 9 by a storm of high-energy particles 100,000 times more intense than usual, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which manages the mission. The spacecraft was 130 million miles away from the sun when it was struck, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.
SCIENCE
February 15, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A NASA spacecraft has begun beaming back dozens of raw images from a comet purposely hit by an earlier probe, and officials say they plan to make the pictures public throughout Tuesday morning. The repurposed Stardust spacecraft locked eyes with the Tempel 1 comet on Valentine's Day, coming within 112 miles about 8:39 p.m. and snapping a budgeted 72 images along the way. Its views were arriving on Earth about every 15 minutes. Tempel 1 is the subject of an ambitious experiment.
SCIENCE
January 21, 2006 | From Reuters
Pristine comet samples returned this weekend by the Stardust spacecraft after a 2.9-billion-mile journey wildly exceeded scientists' expectations, project managers said Thursday. A canister containing particles trapped during the Stardust space probe's 2004 encounter with comet Wild 2 (pronounced Vilt) landed on Earth on Sunday. The samples were taken to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for inspection.
SCIENCE
January 16, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA's audacious Stardust mission, a seven-year effort to learn more about the origins of the solar system by capturing particles from the tail of a comet and returning them to Earth, ended successfully Sunday when the spacecraft's scorched capsule parachuted into the Utah desert, its cargo intact. The desk-sized capsule glowed red as it streaked across the sky over the northwest United States on its way to a 2:10 a.m. soft landing at the Air Force Test and Training Range in Dugway, Utah.
SCIENCE
August 18, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
Showing that the ingredients for life in the universe may be distributed far more widely than previously thought, scientists have found traces of a key building block of biology in dust snatched from the tail of a comet. Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., have uncovered glycine, the simplest amino acid and a vital compound necessary for life, in a sample from the comet Wild 2. The sample was captured by NASA's Stardust spacecraft, which dropped it into the Utah desert in 2006.
SCIENCE
February 11, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
It's not exactly young love, but some might find it romantic. On Valentine's Day, an aging Lothario that has been flitting from beauty to beauty through the solar system will make his final stop, taking pictures of a battered dowager to send to the folks back home before disappearing forever. The Stardust spacecraft, which has already taken images of asteroid Annefrank and captured interstellar dust from comet Wild 2, on Monday night will swing by comet Tempel 1. There, it will take new pictures of the devastation wrought on the comet by NASA's 2005 Deep Impact mission.
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