NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stardust sample return capsule landed on Earth. This capsule landed at the US Air Force Utah Test and Training Range on 15th January 2006. The spacecraft had visited the comet Wild-2 in January 2004, and collected dust particles from its coma in an aerogel collector. It also collected interstellar dust during its journey. The rest of the spacecraft remained in space, and could be used in future missions. The aerogel is a solid with extremely low density, designed to slow and stop the dust particles without damaging them. Comets are relics from the formation of the solar system, and study of their composition could provide information on its history.
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