NASA / JPL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Comet dust particle from the Stardust mission. Light micrographs of a comet dust particle (lower frame) and its tracks through the aerogel collector used to capture it. The aerogel collector on the Stardust spacecraft was extended into the dusty coma of the comet Wild-2 during its encounter in January 2004. The aerogel then returned to Earth in a capsule, landing on 15th January 2006. The spacecraft remained in space. 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.
Model release not required. Property release not required.