The area around Johnson Space Center was heavily affected by Hurricane Ike, and people there are still recovering. Thankfully, there was no damage to Building 31, where the Stardust and Cosmic Dust Labs are located. However, a number of people had severe damage to their houses, and as a result were not able to come back to work until just recently. This week the interstellar tray was taken out of the safe-storage vault and was remounted on the scanning system, and we ran three fine-focus maps on tiles 110, 111 and 112 remotely from Berkeley. I will be going to Houston next week for a CAPTEM meeting on Monday and Tuesday, and will return with the fine-focus data. We will process this and this will enable us to write the scripts for the complete scans of these tiles. Dave is planning to resume extractions next week. So it appears that we’ve finally recovered from Ike.
We are also in the process of writing the first papers on the Interstellar Preliminary Examination. We don’t yet have any interstellar particles, we think, but there is a lot to report on: measurements on the composition of the off-normal tracks, measurements of the composition of the aerogel itself and the inclusions that we are all very familiar with, and quantitative measurements by FTIR of the effect of synchrotron x-ray beam analysis on the level of organics in the aerogel. So we’re very busy!