Stardust: Analyses of cometary and interstellar dust in the laboratory

Sat, Oct 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

100 Genetics & Plant Biology Building

Andrew Westphal (UC Berkeley)


Stardust was the first spacecraft ever to bring back to Earth extraterrestrial materials from beyond the Moon. It was two missions in one spacecraft. Stardust returned the first samples from a known primitive solar system body, the Jupiter-family comet Wild 2. Stardust also carried a separate collector that was exposed the interstellar dust stream for 200 days before the encounter with the comet. These tiny rocks — a trillion would fit into a teaspoon — were identified in the returned collector by a small army of more than 30,000 citizen scientists, through a project called Stardust@home.