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

FRIDAY 05 AUGUST 2022

Sar Satellite data: the Italian Space Agency reshapes the costs for products acquired by the COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation ‣

15 years of activity and great successes achieved since the launch of the first SAR satellite of the Italian constellation of  Earth observation that will be celebrated by ASI  providing free use of data for the Italian institutional user and cost reduction for the Institutional international user MORE...

FRIDAY 29 JULY 2022

PRISMA for extraction of Fire Severity Maps ‣

The prototypal processor “Fire Severity Map” was developed in the framework of the ASI-funded project “Sviluppo di Prodotti Iperspettrali Prototipali Evoluti MORE...

THURSDAY 28 JULY 2022

Send in your Hypergravity Experiment Ideas & Discuss it with ESA/OOSA ‣

Conduct your experiment at the Large Diameter Centrifuge Facility at ESTEC through the Access to Space for All-HyperGES  MORE...

THURSDAY 21 JULY 2022

ASTROSAMANTHA, THE FIRST EUROPEAN SPACEWALKER ‣

First extravehicular activity for Samantha Cristoforetti MORE...

TUESDAY 19 JULY 2022

AGILE, published the first article about the “New Year’s Burst” ‣

On Friday 15 July, the first detailed study on this "New Year's Burst" was published in the Astrophysical Journal, using data acquired by the AGILE satellite MORE...