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Submission + - Spacecraft Returns Seven Particles From Birth of the Solar System (

sciencehabit writes: After a massive, years-long search, researchers have recovered seven interstellar dust particles returned to Earth by the Stardust spacecraft. The whole sample weighs just a few trillionths of a gram, but it’s the first time scientists have laid their hands on primordial material unaltered by the violent birth of the solar system.

Once the sample panel was back on Earth, the problem quickly became finding any collected particles embedded in the aerogel. Out of desperation, Stardust team members called on 30,714 members of the general public. The “dusters” of the Stardust@home project volunteered to examine microscopic images taken down through the aerogel. They used the world’s best pattern-recognition system—the human eye and brain—to pick out the telltale tracks left by speeding particles.

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Spacecraft Returns Seven Particles From Birth of the Solar System

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