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New view of comet formation forged in study of tiny particle

New Study Provides Clues to Formation of Comets
February 26, 2010 - Comets have a reputation of being outer solar system natives that were long thought to be made up of pristine remnants of the building blocks of our sun's planets and moons.
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Comet-like Asteroid taken from Hubble

Suspected Asteroid Collision Leaves Trailing Debris
February 2, 2010 - NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed a mysterious X-shaped debris pattern and trailing streamers of dust that suggest a head-on collision between two asteroids.
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Stardust capsule landed on the Utah desert

Stardust Celebrates 4000 Days in Space!
January 21, 2010 - Today, the Stardust spacecraft will celebrate 4000 days of flight and approximately 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) of travel. The original Stardust was the first U.S. space mission dedicated solely to the exploration of a comet, and the first robotic mission designed to return extraterrestrial material from outside the orbit of the Moon.
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Stardust capsule landed on the Utah desert

Ingredient for life detected in comet dust
August 18, 2009 - It is the first time an amino acid has turned up in comet material, bolstering the idea th at the building blocks of biology are 'ubiquitous' in space.
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.
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A massive collission between rocky, embryonic planets as big as mountian ranges

Jumping Asteroids
August 18, 2009 - How our solar system was formed has fascinated scientists and laymen alike for -- well, for a really, really long time. New research may have answered a piece to the puzzle - how big were the first planetesimals?
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Example of one of the many organic particles collected and recovered by the Stardust mission

First Discovery of Life's Building Block in Comet
August 17, 2009 - NASA scientists have discovered glycine, a fundamental building block of life, in samples of comet Wild 2 returned by NASA's Stardust spacecraft. "Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to make proteins, and this is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet," said Dr. Jamie Elsila of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
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