This composite image was taken by the navigation camera aboard Stardust's spacecraft during the close approach phase of Stardust's January 2, 2004 flyby of comet Wild 2. To create this image, a short-exposure image showing tremendous surface detail was overlain on a long-exposure image taken just 10 seconds later which shows streaming jets. Together, the images show an intensely active surface, jetting dust and gas streams into space and leaving a trail millions of kilometers long.
This image of the Stardust Capsule Return was taken by NASA's DC-8 Airborne Laboratory, whose mission was to explore the conditions during re-entry. The aircraft was located near the end of the trajectory, just outside of the Dugway Proving Ground in the Utah Test and Training Range. The participating researchers are from NASA Ames, the SETI Institute, the University of Alaska, Utah State University, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Air Force Academy, the University of Kobe (Japan), and Stuttgart University.
Jan. 17, 2006 -- From left to right: Thomas H. See, JSC; Donald Brownlee, principal investigator with the University of Washington; and Friedrich Horz, JSC, get a close look at Stardust material encased in the sample collector soon after its canister was opened at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.
In the Cometary Particle Tracks, there are four different tracks. The track number is on the top, indicating the order of the tracks that were extracted.
Comet particle tracks in aerogel revealed a remarkable range of minerals from very fragile, fine-grained volatiles that evaporate to the hard crystal "terminal" particle that remains at the end of the track.
Mystic travelers in our solar system, comets were often feared as harbingers of doom in earlier centuries. Comets are now believed to have carried water and organics, the foundation of life to Earth. + Comet Images + Comet Wild 2 Images