I am looking forward to Phase VII. In the meantime I reminisce. I don’t recall how I heard of Stardust@Home, but as a retired lab-tech, I welcomed the chance to search for Stardust. A Certificate dated August 10, 2006, “Certifying that Evelyn R. Smith has completed the training requirements for participation” hangs proudly on the wall in my office. I was 77 years old back then, and it’s been a great trip. Sometimes wild and bumpy, but always educational, exciting and worthwhile. I cannot give enough praise to the Administration Team. They have been patient with us—always. Our “suggestions” (a lot of the time they were out-right complaints) have been addressed promptly, courteously, and expertly. A warm spirit of camaraderie has prevailed.
Of the more than 20,000 who registered that first year, at least 4,000 were online dusting every day, all year long. And they posted on the forums. In order to get acquainted with fellow-dusters, I always checked the forums first (still do). Dusters are equipped with a sense of humor that brings smiles. We quickly became a close-knit community, encouraging each other. (I think I have posted on the forum hundreds of times during the past eight years—most always asking for help. It was forthcoming.)
Through the forums, I have become friends with brilliant minds all over the Globe. They are ladies and gentlemen, and their encouragement has been vital to keep me an active duster. I suppose that, one of these days, the project will close down. If so, I will cherish their friendship forever.
In fact, back in 2006, I expected the job to be finished within a year or so. But, I saw Phase I replaced with Phase II one year later. Then Phase III, IV, V, and VI followed… and now, eight years later, we are ready for Phase VII to begin! I am beginning to think that Stardust@Home will last the rest of my life! (I hope so)
Sometimes I have forgotten our purpose: Searching for interstellar dust particles. Of the hundreds of particles brought back to Earth (including those captured from Comet Wild-2), perhaps less than fifty are estimated to be actual dust-grains from beyond our solar system. I eagerly await the latest report from the Stardust@Home project leaders. Did we find what we were looking for?!
Eagerly looking forward to Phase VII,
Evelyn R. Smith
(ERSTRS and Smith ES)