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Home » Comet Wild 2 – Up close and personal, as seen by NASA’s Stardust spacecraft

Comet Wild 2 – Up close and personal, as seen by NASA’s Stardust spacecraft

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Stardust took sensational pictures of the comet during its historic flyby on January 2 of this year.

From the pictures, NASA’s made movies and slideshows – on its website – that are just spectacular.

Stardust had a wild, turbulent ride through three of the more than two dozen jets that blast outward from Comet Wild 2.

The jets form when the Sun shines on icy areas near or just below the comet’s surface, causing solid ice to become gas and blast outwards at hundreds of miles an hour.

The spacecraft was pelted with more than a million particles per second.

Twelve particles, some larger than a bullet, penetrated the top layer of the spacecraft’s protective shield.

The spacecraft captured pieces of the comet in its aerogel trap, and is scheduled to return them to Earth on January 15, 2006.

It’s a long, lonely way home from out there.

You can keep track of how long it’ll be on NASA’s site: as of today, it’s 572 days and counting.

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