We Post Up Close Pic of Comet
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|(Jan. 2, 2004) -- The JPL-NASA web site reports that Stardust, NASA's first dedicated return mission to a comet, successfully navigated within 149 miles of comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt 2") on January 2, capturing particle samples and snapping pictures of Wild 2's pockmarked surface.
Stardust has traveled about 2 billion miles since its launch on February 7, 1999. The photo (right) was taken by Stardust from a distance of about 311 miles of the comet's nucleus.
Scientists believe the particles captured by Stardust will reveal much about comets and the earliest history of the solar system, The particles were stowed onboard Stardust...and will be returned to Earth for analysis in January 2006.
Photo: JPL-NASA web site
Stardust is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of Cal Tech in Pasadena.
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