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15-Jan-06 | Stardust success

The Stardust mission has come to a successful conclusion, as its sample return canister parachuted to a gentle landing in the Utah desert at 10:10 UTC on Sunday, 15 January 2006. Launched nearly seven years ago aboard Delta 266, Stardust has brought home samples from comet Wild-2, tiny particles which scientists believe may be as old as the solar system itself. The capsule is on its way to Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will be opened. Meanwhile, NASA has put out an open call for volunteers to help spot the tiny motes embedded in Stardust’s aerogel collectors. Unlike distributed computing projects that harness unused computer cycles, Stardust@home will rely on the sharp eyes of its human participants.

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