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Photos: First look at comet dust

NASA scientists have opened the Stardust probe and found particles from the tail of a comet.
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By Bill Detwiler on
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1 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

success

Scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, realize that the Stardust mission was a success as they remove the aerogel trap filled with comet dust from the space probe. The Stardust probe returned to Earth on Sunday after completing a seven year, 2.9 billion mile trip to comet Wild 2 where it captured samples from the comet's tail.

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comet dust

Scientists uncovered pieces of comet dust which was captured in aerogel, a sponge-like solid made of 99 percent empty space. NASA reported that the number of samples exceeded expectations.

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comet dust

Here's another closeup look at a cometary fragment that was caught by aerogel.

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Webcam

NASA has installed a live Webcam at the Stardust Cleanroom that shows the scientists working on the comet samples returned by the Stardust space probe. It can be accessed from NASA's Stardust page.

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landing

NASA's Stardust capsule successfully landed on Sunday at the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range. The 100-pound capsule was launched in 1999. Click here for more photos of the recovery and a view of its reentry.

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