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NASA Space Science

NASA Stardust Returns to Earth 119

quadsoft writes "The Globe and Mail reports "Dugway Proving Ground, Utah -- A space capsule ferrying the first comet dust samples to Earth parachuted onto a remote stretch of desert before dawn Sunday, drawing cheers from elated scientists. The touchdown capped a seven-year journey by NASA's Stardust spacecraft, which zipped past a comet in 2004 to capture minute dust particles and store them in the capsule.""
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NASA Stardust Returns to Earth

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  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SunPin ( 596554 ) <slashspam@@@cyberista...com> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @12:32PM (#14475920) Homepage
    This is a truly impressive mission. Fire and forget is one thing but bringing back pieces of a comet is... in my opinion, right up there with the moon missions.
    • Wake me when the hollywood style helicopters swoop in to pluck it out of the sky.
    • Re:Wow (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What's MOST impressive is that they got the accelerometers on right this time [wikipedia.org]!
      • What's unimpressive is that the stardust mission is actually the first of the two missions and genisis is the second.
        NASA 'trimming' of standards and budgets for lean cost savings doomed the launched in 2001 genesis mission and the older 1999 launched more expensive stardust succeeded.
    • For crying out loud people, hasn't anyone from NASA seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers?
  • by rah1420 ( 234198 ) <rah1420@gmail.com> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @12:34PM (#14475926)
    All contact has been lost with the residents of the town of Piedmont, AZ. State Police have set up a perimeter around the area and all residents are advised to stay indoors until further notice.
  • Anyway, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by machine117 ( 935635 )
    For my real comment, is this the stardust that NASA (or somebody else) wants to give to people people to analyze because they also grabbed some debris from a recent (and by recent I mean 10 million years ago) exploding star?
    • Re:Anyway, (Score:3, Informative)

      by bblazer ( 757395 ) *
      Yes it is. Actually they are going to send out pictures of the capture area and have people search visually for the dust. There actually seems to be a long process to get trained for it.
  • by Rob Carr ( 780861 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @12:35PM (#14475933) Homepage Journal
    According to the article Capsule of comet dust lands back on Earth [msn.com], "The Stardust mothership will remain in orbit around the sun, and Duxbury said NASA is considering sending it to another comet or asteroid."

    So, even after this successful capsule recovery, this might not be the end.

  • by troon ( 724114 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @12:58PM (#14476005)

    From the article:

    Early Sunday, that capsule nose-dived through Earth's atmosphere at a record 29,000 mph, the fastest return for a man-man probe.

    No comment required...

    • Man-Man (Score:3, Funny)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) *
      the fastest return for a man-man probe
      No comment required...

      Not that there's anything wrong with that!
    • Utah's religious population would probably object to a "man-man" probe and tell NASA to land it in a blue state instead.
    • They fixed it. It now says "Early Sunday, that capsule nose-dived through Earth's atmosphere at a record 29,000 mph, the fastest return for a man-made probe."

      I guess someone noticed it & had someone fix it. I love the fact that you can fix a problem like this on the Internet while it is another story fixing an already printed story.
  • Stardust@home (Score:2, Informative)

    by healy ( 234314 )
    Well, now that it's back, we help them and join in the search: http://stardustathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/ [berkeley.edu]
  • by durandal61 ( 705295 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @01:13PM (#14476058) Homepage Journal
    From the Globe and Mail article:
    Early Sunday, that capsule nose-dived through Earth's atmosphere at a record 29,000 mph, the fastest return for a man-man probe.

    I am not sure I want to know what a man-man probe is...

    d.
  • Yay for science! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Sunday January 15, 2006 @01:32PM (#14476144)
    This is another example of why science is important and why it should be respected.

    We did it this time. The previous mission [wikipedia.org] didn't work right, but this one nailed it. The political naysayers and critics who want to redefine science should pay attention.

    We did it this time, but even with our previous failure, how could we attain such a level of precision with our measuring and then engineering of the laws of physics and chemistry to achieve such a specific goal, to send out a space probe that mindlessly orbits around the solar system for years and comes back to us like a cosmic boomerang, and yet be drastically and unanimously incorrect when it comes to measuring the rate of radioactive decay of various elements in the extensive global collection of terrestrial geological samples and also the synthetic elements we've created during the twentieth century atomic age?

    Have all the scientists in all the nations of the world simply got it exactly, equally wrong?

    The scientific framework of ideas is well-established and the theories are interdependent. This is why we can readily reject challenges like "Intelligent Design".

    Because they just don't fit in.

    • ... take an English class.

      Maybe they'll teach you what a "Run-On Sentence" is.

      And why must every scientific acheivement be used against ID? (I'm not for it or against it by the way)

      Can you imagine Wilbur Wright saying "Well Orville, now that we know how to fly, I guess we can tell everyone to stop going to church"
      • Re:Hey Smarty.... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by quokkapox ( 847798 )
        Maybe they'll teach you what a "Run-On Sentence" is.

        Take an English class yourself, and maybe they'll talk about poetry.

        I like run-on sentences. I'm just trying to communicate. Don't like it? Bite me, foe :)
      • What he wanted to point out, is that this mission is one more great achievement of science and engineering, one more proof of how valid the methods and the logic behind science and engineering is - regardless of what religious teachers are trying to persuade us. The religion, includung the ID "theory", has yet to come up with something nearly as impressive as this mission was, before they can claim *any* scientific credibility (remember: ID tries to look like science)

        BTW, if you're not against ID, you ar
        • ..one more proof of how valid the methods and the logic behind science and engineering is - regardless of what religious teachers are trying to persuade us.

          Full disclosure: I am a Christian in the USA.

          I'm not disagreeing with you, but just (re)iterating that there are those people out there that can reconcile science and religion. Religion and science (for me) are both ways to find out more of the world around me. Not all people that subscribe to a religion take Creationism as law; I would venture th

          • Hi,

            I'm afraid only a very tiny minority of the religious folks out there share your views. As the matter of fact, you are the second person that I come to know to have this view and still call himself religious. The first person with that attitude that I have met is now my wife[1].

            The great unwashed masses, including all official christian churches, would disagree with you vehemently.

            [1]: no, NOT for that reason! :-)
      • Re:Hey Smarty.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pnewhook ( 788591 )
        Can you imagine Wilbur Wright saying "Well Orville, now that we know how to fly, I guess we can tell everyone to stop going to church"
        Actually there were lots of religious based protests at the time stating that we shouldn't attempt to try and fly. "If God intended man to fly then he would have given us wings" was the argument used.
      • "Can you imagine Wilbur Wright saying "Well Orville, now that we know how to fly, I guess we can tell everyone to stop going to church"

        Au Contraire!

        Can you imagine the Church saying "The Bible doesn't say ANYTHING about the Orville's flying a plane. There is no prophecy for such an occurrence. Therefore, flying is just a theory, NOT a fact."

        No, that would be pretty ridiculous, right? So, why, despite the fact that we live in an age of genetic engineering, continuously evolving diseases, libraries of

    • This is another example of why science is important and why it should be respected.

      "Another" example? You've only counted one.

    • Independant of how you feel about ID, there is a major problem with your argument.

      It is one thing to measure exactly how things behave now, to send a cosmic boomerang off and have it return with absolutle precision - that is our domain, our expertise if you will. It is in the now.

      It is quite another to look back over millions of years and accurately say exactly how something came to be without the ability to be there and observe. Untiil a day comes that we can send an Hourglass mission winging back throu
    • by stewby18 ( 594952 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @03:34PM (#14476771)

      The scientific framework of ideas is well-established and the theories are interdependent. This is why we can readily reject challenges like "Intelligent Design".

      I'm not a proponent of ID, but if you want to argue against something it's best to understand it--and your argument has nothing to do with ID. While ID my be embraced by some literalist creationists as a way to slip in the side door, ID itself has no contradiction with things like the fossil record or carbon-dating results. At the core, evolution says "we evolved over time, through a combination of pure random chance and natural selection", whereas ID says "maybe it wasn't all random chance".

      The more crackpot end is where people try to prove ID, when it clearly isn't provable scientifically. But keep in mind that we also can't prove that what is attributable to random chance is truly random, and isn't actually at least sometimes influenced by some outside force with motivations that we don't understand.

      In short, it's perfectly possible to believe in a higher power guiding the development of life at some level without the slightest contraction with accepted scientififc observations. Lots of religious people do; you just don't hear about them because they aren't raising a big stink or proposing crackpot 'science' to try to make others accept that view.

      • The most crucial flaw in the notion of Intelligent Design (ID) - is that the justification "life is so complicated and perfect that it must be designed" is that it raises the question "who designed this designer!".

        Essentially ID is pure superstition, and has no scientific validity!
        • > The most crucial flaw in the notion of Intelligent Design (ID) - is that the justification "life is so complicated and perfect that it must be designed" is that it raises the question "who designed this designer!".

          Your understanding of Theism seems to have halted somewhere around Sunday School level. Try reading Bertrand Russell on the subject: either God OR the Universe must be eternal and uncreated. Those are the options. He thought it was the universe ("Since at least I know the universe exists"

      • we also can't prove that what is attributable to random chance is truly random, and isn't actually at least sometimes influenced by some outside force with motivations that we don't understand.

        We can't prove it because it's not a testable hypothesis, which as you pointed out is the reason for the whole argument over ID. It's just not science!
    • Yay for engineering. The science of stardust is just beginning.
    • You can't stop modern science. Can't stop it, you can't stop it. Can't stop science. Can't be stopped, no way, no how, science just marches...
    • Actually, Genesis was launched after Stardust. Too bad they didn't recycle the parachute hardware's design.
  • Maybe NASA will exceed the previous 1800 recorded instances of Stardust" [wikipedia.org]

    --
    "Hoagy Carmichael (November 22, 1899 - December 27, 1981)
    He is best known for writing "Stardust" (1927), which has
    been called the most-recorded American song ever written"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardust_(song) [wikipedia.org]

  • http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/0 8/1625231/ [slashdot.org]

    Seems NASA actually did something RIGHT for once. Three cheers for NASA!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah you right spirit and opportunity , mars express , pathfinder , mars global surveyor , mars reconnaissance orbiter , vikings missions , mariners missions , apollos missions , hubble , deep impact ...etc was all failed mission . We are so dumb to put money into NASA
  • Stardust@Home (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @02:00PM (#14476260) Homepage
    Sit at your computer and help the search with Stardust@Home. [slashdot.org]

    -
    • Sit at your computer and help the search with Stardust@Home.

      Get us to hunt for collection panel dust particles? The ultimate laziness scam.

      I am gonna start WriteMyCode@Home and get people to program for me for free. After that would come TrollSlashdot@Home, ScratchMyItchyBalls@Home, ModMeUp@Home, and ModMeOutOfNegativeOne@Home. (Let's hope this message will not require the last one.)
                           
  • by n6kuy ( 172098 )
    The parachute deployed this time.
    I guess the accelerometers weren't installed uposide dowm.

  • Where do I collect the one with my name on it?

    re: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/overview/microchip/fa q.html [nasa.gov]




  • by AngryNick ( 891056 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @02:32PM (#14476369) Homepage Journal
    WOW! Imagine pushing the return capsule off your side of the mother ship at 28,860 mi/hr and 4 hours later finding it safely on the ground...in the exact spot you wanted it to land. Mr. Bush, this is how space exploration should be done!

    From NASA press release [nasa.gov]:
    "I have been waiting for this day since the early 1980s when Deputy Principal Investigator Dr. Peter Tsou of JPL and I designed a mission to collect comet dust," said Dr. Don Brownlee, Stardust principal investigator from the University of Washington, Seattle. "To see the capsule safely back on its home planet is a thrilling accomplishment."

    NASA has posted a few pictures and press releases. [nasa.gov]

    Congratulations to all involved.

  • Oh, wait, another Stardust... Bummer.
  • Gotta love the press (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )
    The last time a NASA capsule came down there, one paper ran the headline, "Saucer from Outer Space Lands in Utah Desert". Pretty clever way to grab attention without outright lying.
  • They have been analysing the genesis wafers for more than a year now and there is still no scientific results.
  • BRAAAAIIIIINNNSSS!!!
  • I am very happy that this can happend! This is the greatest combat that is actually forbidden by the majority of the human population. This is the most important thing that we should understand as soon as possible. This represents the future of the humanity. And in 2005 it looks that there is again a politicised 'anything you can do we can do better' like somedy told before. But we must work in group and organization that can bring new stuff without beeing limited to the cash! We must give all our energy i
    • This is the greatest combat that is actually forbidden by the majority of the human population.

      I'm not sure what you're smoking, but I think it's forbidden by the majority of the human population too.
  • So have any of the people who come into contact with the "space dust" started getting an appetite for brains ?
  • (From space.com:)


    Meanwhile, still up in space, is the Stardust "mother craft" that successfully ejected the sample return capsule.

    "Our mighty little spacecraft is still out there," said JPL's Duxbury. "This thing is still alive and well. It may have a future life as well," and is capable of further exploration of comets and asteroids, he said.

    Mission controllers have placed the spacecraft into a "divert maneuver"--to keep the hardware from hitting Earth. It has been put on an orbit around the Sun.

    After nea

  • The view in Calif* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heroine ( 1220 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @07:25PM (#14478083) Homepage
    For a good time, go to geocities.com/heroineworshipper/sharpened.jpg. The faint line in the sky is the spaceship re-entering as seen from Antioch, Calif*.
  • AP News

    During the NASA briefing revealing the first samples from the Stardust mission, Clark Kent, Science Reporter for "The Daily Planet" fell violently ill.

    To the reporters further emabarrasment, the Fire Department EMT's reported that "..he's wearly these funky red tights under this suit.." Mr. Kent recoverd quickly and refused treatment at nearby Columbia Medical Center.

    During all the confusion, there were initial reports that one of the green samples were stolen. A NASA spokesman, Lex Luthor labled
  • Of course, this has to be done. Man is an adventurer. There will always be 1000 reasons to not do something. Nothing would get done otherwise. We wouldn't even be here having this conversation. NASA Stardust Mission Capsule Brings Comet Dust to Earth [newsblaze.com] That little spacecraft was sent out on a 4.6 billion Km round-trip for 7 years, had a rendezvous with a comet, as planned - and it came back to earth and sent the payload exactly where they wanted it to. That alone is worth it. The main parachute opened perfe

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