Stardust In the News

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Sharqua
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Stardust In the News

Post by Sharqua »

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16205427/

Hopefully this link survives a while. Interesting article.

GelDelve

Post by GelDelve »

There are similar articles on NASA's website: NASA Stardust story1, NASA Stardust story2, NASA Stardust story3, and NASA Stardust story4

Wolter
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Post by Wolter »

Also on Space.com In this article they mention that one interstellar particle was found in between the comet dust....
Just dusting... Image

jsmaje
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Stardust In the News

Post by jsmaje »

How about this from the UK's Daily Telegraph today, reporting the above?

Headlined "Dust from a comet's tail overturns understanding of the Solar System", the article goes on to state that "The particles were captured by Nasa's Stardust spacecraft before Comet Wild-2 fell to Earth in January, landing in the Utah desert after a journey of 2.88 billion miles" (my italics).
Did I miss a 'Deep Impact' or mass-extinction event lately?

No wonder the non-scientific public are (and continue to be) confused, given such lazy journalism :x .
Last edited by jsmaje on Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

GelDelve

Re: Stardust In the News

Post by GelDelve »

jsmaje wrote:How about this from the UK's Daily Telegraph today, reporting the above?

Headlined "Dust from a comet's tail overturns understanding of the Solar System", the article goes on to state that "The particles were captured by Nasa's Stardust spacecraft before Comet Wild-2 fell to Earth in January, landing in the Utah desert after a journey of 2.88 billion miles" (my italics).
Did I miss a 'Deep Impact' or mass-extinction event lately?
That's a hilarious example of things gone wrong and why you can't believe everything you read, whether in print in a book, magazine, or newspaper or posted on the internet! It must be the result of a very busy, inept, or incompetent reporter and his/her science editor's similar qualities. It kind of reminds me of Harry S. Truman holding up the newspaper in the famous 1948 photo with the headline that Dewey defeats Truman, proving that not everything you read is correct and that it is the people who ultimately decide not the reporters, editors, or pollsters. We should add facts and scientific evidence to that list. And while the reference to "people ... ultimately decide" was in reference to a democratic society, it hopefully applies to all of mankind in the long term.

bmendez
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Post by bmendez »

Wolter wrote:Also on Space.com In this article they mention that one interstellar particle was found in between the comet dust....
Great science being done with the Stardust samples!

I'd just like to make clear that the findings mentioned in this article suggest that some interstellar dust that formed before our Solar System did found its way into the early Solar System and was incorporated into the comet as it formed. That means this interstellar dust is more than 4 billion years old.

It is not the same as the interstellar dust we are searching for. We are looking for contemporary interstellar dust, formed within the last few hundred million years.

Interstellar dust does not last long in the interstellar environment before being destroyed by radiation. One of the ways it can survive is by being incorporated into new star systems as they form.

So, there has still been no confirmed discovery of contemporary IS dust from the Stardust collector. So our search continues...

I will tell you that we do have some great candidates to investigate, and in an update coming soon we'll discuss them a little more.

Thanks as always,
-Bryan
"I am made from the dust of the stars, and the oceans flow in my veins"
- RUSH

Pupper
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Post by Pupper »

There was a very short segment on Discoveries This Week on the Science Channel last Friday. (12/15/06) The main focus was on the comet particles collected. The whole segment lasted about 30 seconds, but good PR.

DanZ
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Re: Stardust In the News

Post by DanZ »

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know about a recent podcast on Stardust@home posted here http://365daysofastronomy.org/2009/08/0 ... llar-dust/.

Have a listen and let us know what you think.

Enjoy!

Dan

DanZ
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Re: Stardust In the News

Post by DanZ »

Not Stardust@home, but related.

Enjoy!

Dan

******

DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

Nancy Neal Jones
Goddard Space Flight Center, Md.
301-286-0039/5017
nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov

News release: 2009-126 August 17, 2009

NASA Researchers Make First Discovery of Life's Building Block in Comet

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA scientists have discovered glycine, a fundamental building block of life, in samples of comet Wild 2 returned by NASA's Stardust spacecraft.

"Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to make proteins, and this is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet," said Jamie Elsila of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Our discovery supports the theory that some of life's ingredients formed in space and were delivered to Earth long ago by meteorite and comet impacts."

Elsila is the lead author of a paper on this research accepted for publication in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science. The research was presented during the meeting of the American Chemical Society at the Marriott Metro Center in Washington, D.C., August 16.

"The discovery of glycine in a comet supports the idea that the fundamental building blocks of life are prevalent in space, and strengthens the argument that life in the universe may be common rather than rare," said Carl Pilcher, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, which co-funded the research.

Proteins are the workhorse molecules of life, used in everything from structures like hair to enzymes, the catalysts that speed up or regulate chemical reactions. Just as the 26 letters of the alphabet are arranged in limitless combinations to make words, life uses 20 different amino acids in a huge variety of arrangements to build millions of different proteins.

Stardust passed through dense gas and dust surrounding the icy nucleus of Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt-2") on Jan. 2, 2004. As the spacecraft flew through this material, a special collection grid filled with aerogel – a novel sponge-like material that's more than 99 percent empty space – gently captured samples of the comet's gas and dust. The grid was stowed in a capsule that detached from the spacecraft and parachuted to Earth on Jan. 15, 2006. Since then, scientists around the world have been busy analyzing the samples to learn the secrets of comet formation and our solar system's history.

"We actually analyzed aluminum foil from the sid es of tiny chambers that hold the aerogel in the collection grid," said Elsila. "As gas molecules passed through the aerogel, some stuck to the foil. We spent two years testing and developing our equipment to make it accurate and sensitive enough to analyze such incredibly tiny samples."

Earlier, preliminary analysis in the Goddard labs detected glycine in both the foil and a sample of the aerogel. However, since glycine is used by terrestrial life, at first the team was unable to rule out contamination from sources on Earth. "It was possible that the glycine we found originated from handling or manufacture of the Stardust spacecraft itself," said Elsila. The new research used isotopic analysis of the foil to rule out that possibility.

Isotopes are versions of an element with different weights or masses; for example, the most common carbon atom, Carbon 12, has six protons and six neutrons in its center (nucleus). However, the Carbon 13 isotope is heavier because it has an extra neutron in its nucleus. A glycine molecule from space will tend to have more of the heavier Carbon 13 atoms in it than glycine that's from Earth. That is what the team found. "We discovered that the Stardust-returned glycine has an extraterrestrial carbon isotope signature, indicating that it originated on the comet," said Elsila.

The team includes Daniel Glavin and Jason Dworkin of NASA Goddard. "Based on the foil and aerogel results it is highly probable that the entire comet-exposed side of the Stardust sample collection grid is coated with glycine that formed in space," adds Glavin.

"The discovery of amino acids in the returned comet sample is very exciting and profound," said Stardust Principal Investigator Donald E. Brownlee, a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. "It is also a remarkable triumph that highlights the advancing capabilities of laboratory studies of primitive extraterrestrial materials."

The research was funded by the NASA Stardust Sample Analysis program and the NASA Astrobiology Institute. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Stardust mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, developed and operated the spacecraft.

For images, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stard ... _acid.html

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