Subject line: Minor bodies of the Solar System

Responsibility of the mission: NASA

Date of launch: February 7th, 1999

End of mission: March 24th, 2011

 

Description

Stardust is the fourth mission of the NASA Discovery programme, and the first mission whose only focus is on exploring a comet: Wild 2. The mission departed in February 1999 from Cape Canaveral with a Delta II vector rocket and following a four-year journey – during which the probe performed a flyby of the 5535 Annefrank asteroid at a 3300 km distance – on January 2nd, 2004 STARDUST reached the Wild2 Comet.

The mission completed its first cycle of observation and collection of samples in 2006, but it was extended in 2011 with the purpose of studying the Comet Tempel 1, previously observed in the Deep Impact mission. The encounter with the celestial body happened of February 14th, 2011 and the mission ended on March 24th, 2011, when the probe ran out of fuel.

 

Scientific goals

The primary goal of the mission was to collect and analyse samples of carbon dust coming from the comet Wild 2, by using a special material with extremely low density known as aerogel, similar to a big tennis racket.

STARDUST brought back to Earth samples of interstellar dust and fragments of dust coming from outside our Solar System, which are useful to study the evolution of the Sun and the other planets of the Solar System.

‣ News

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ASI and JAXA sign the Memorandum of Cooperation ‣

The Space Agencies to cooperate in space activities for peaceful purposes MORE...

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER 2020

International Partners Advance Cooperation with First Signings of the Artemis Accords   ‣

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WEDNESDAY 07 OCTOBER 2020

1st Space Economy Leaders Meeting – Space20 ‣

Italian Space Agency (ASI) to host the 2nd Space Economy Leaders Meeting in 2021

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MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

MARSIS, SALTY WATER BENEATH MARS’ SOUTH POLE CONFIRMED ‣

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FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2020

JOINT STATEMENT OF INTENT FOR COOPERATION IN THE ARTEMIS PROGRAM BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ‣

Hon. Riccardo Fraccaro, Undersecretary of State at the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers and Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine signed a joint statement of intent for cooperation in the Artemis program

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