[astroCS] Stardust tesne pred cielom
mhusarik at ta3.sk
Fri Jan 2 08:11:22 UTC 2004
* * *
* Stardust set for comet encounter *
* * *
The US space agency's Stardust probe is due to encounter Comet Wild-2.
The probe has been racing through space for five years to get itself into a
position on Friday where it will be about 300 km off the "dirty ice-ball".
Stardust will photograph the object and grab particles streaming away from
its nucleus for return to Earth in 2006.
Scientists believe the samples will reveal a great deal not only about the
construction of comets but also about the early history of the Solar System.
At 1940 GMT, the comet - which is 5.4 kilometres (3.3 miles) across - will
sail past the five-metre-long (16 feet) Stardust spacecraft at a speed of
21,960 km per hour (13,650 miles per hour).
"In recent decades, spacecraft have passed fairly close to comets and
provided us with excellent data," said Dr Don Brownlee of the University of
Washington, principal investigator for the Stardust mission.
"Stardust, however, marks the first time that we have ever collected samples
from a comet and brought them back to Earth for study," he added.
More information about the astroCS