DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 30. Comets III: Properties of Space Mission Targets
Oral, Chairs: D. E. Brownlee and B. J. R. Davidsson, Friday, September 5, 2003, 10:30am-12:00noon, DeAnza III

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[30.08] The Stardust Mission: Homeward Bound

D. E. Brownlee (University of Washington), P. Tsou, M.S. Hanner, R. Newburn, Z. Sekanina, J. D. Anderson (Jet Proplusion Lab), B.C. Clark (Lockeed Martin Astronautics), F. Horz, M.E. Zolensky (NASA Johnson Space Center), J. Kissel (Max-Planck Institut fur extraterrestrische Physik), J.A.M. McDonnell (Open University), S.A. Sandford (NASA Ames Research Center), A.J. Tuzzolino (University of Chicago)

Stardust, NASA's fourth Discovery mission, will fly past comet Wild 2 on Jan 2, 2004 and head towards an Earth return in Jan 2006. During the 6.1 km/s flyby, 150 km from the nucleus, Stardust will collect thousands of particles for Earth return, do insitu analyses of particles with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer, take high resolution images of the nucleus, measure the flux and size distribution of dust in the coma and place an upper limit on the comet mass. The samples are collected by impact into low density silica aerogel and they will returned to a landing site west of Salt Lake city Utah by small direct atmospheric entry capsule. The collected samples will be made available for researchers world-wide for study by analytical techniques that are appropriate for the study of small primitive particulate samples. The samples from the Kuiper Belt will provide information on the materials and processes that existed at the edge of the solar nebula disk at the time of formation of Kuiper Belt objects. They should provide fundamental insight into the relative roles of pre-solar grains and nebular solids in the outer regions of the nebula and they can provide information, literally the atomic level, on key issues such as the nature of interstellar silicate grains and the interrelationships between amorphous and crystalline materials around stars and in the ISM.

Stardust is doing quite well and it has completed all of its major tasks except for two: Wild 2 flyby and Earth return. In November 2, 2002 Stardust completed a highly successful ?dress rehearsal? flyby of the remarkably shaped S type asteroid Annefrank.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: brownlee@astro.washington.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.