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landingNASA's Stardust capsule successfully landed on Jan. 15 at the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range. The 100-pound capsule was launched in 1999 and traveled 2.9 billion miles to capture particles from comet Wild 2 and return to Earth.
See previous coverage of the Stardust mission.
return to earth
The Stardust capsule's re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere created a light show captured by NASA's DC-8 Airborn Laboratory. It was the fastest re-entry of a manmade object, returning at a speed of 28,860 miles per hour after being ejected from the main spacecraft as it flew past Earth.
After cutting away the parachute, NASA workers carried the capsule to a recovery helicopter.