The Stardust spacecraft came back to Earth in January 2006. The main spacecraft let go of the sample return capsule. The capsule re-entered Earth's atmosphere. It then used parachutes to gently land in Utah. Scientists in a helicopter picked up the capsule.
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Images courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech; animation created by Windows to the Universe staff (Randy Russell).
Stardust returns - with comet dust!
News story originally written on January 11, 2006
A spacecraft is coming back to Earth after a long mission. The spacecraft
is named Stardust. Stardust went on a journey to a comet. The trip lasted 7
Stardust grabbed some pieces of
dust from the comet it flew by. It is bringing
that dust back to Earth. Scientists will study the dust to learn more about
comets. Stardust flew by a comet named Wild
2. It took some really
great pictures of the comet.
Stardust put the dust it grabbed into a capsule. The capsule will land on
Earth on January 15, 2006. It will land in
the desert in Utah. Scientists will get the dust from the capsule so they can
study it. Nobody has ever been to
a comet. This is the first time stuff from a comet has been brought back to
Earth. Scientists are excited to get their first chance to look at comet "stuff"
up close. They think they will learn a lot about comets from the dust!
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