ME and Ophelia

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ultimately, this is the stuff we are made of

A capsule containing dust from stars millions of light years away is set to land in the Utah desert on Sunday.

Members of the public are being asked to help study cosmic dust samples returned by the Stardust space mission.

Stardust's main mission was to chase a comet and capture material from its coma, the cloud of dust and gas that surrounds its nucleus.

But it also trapped a sprinkling of dust from the interstellar stream that flows through the Solar System.

The particles contain the heavy chemical elements that originated in stars.

"Ultimately, this is the stuff we are made of," said Dr Westphal.

"The fact that we really don't know what the typical interstellar grain looks like is outrageous - this is really a search for our own origins."

Read Recruits needed to sift stardust - BBC January 14, 2006.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 1/14/2006
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