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About the STARDUST Cafe...

Cafe graphic The STARDUST Cafe motif used on our home page was inspired by a famous landmark that existed in Boulder, Colorado until it was torn down in 1996. Its real name was called appropriately, The Last American Diner. The restaurant was designed in the Art Deco style, had oldies music on the juke box and the customers were served by waitresses on roller skates.

The graphic rendering of the Diner was contributed by Mary Ann Noe and has been adapted to be a graphical user interface to material on the STARDUST web site. Clicking almost any item on the STARDUST Cafe will take you to information about some interesting aspect of the STARDUST mission. This includes the "1955"" shown prominently on the front. Though clicking this takes you to a list of key dates for the mission, the number itself was simply the original address of the Diner.

The name Stardust has been popular in America for nearly a century. It has been used as the name of cafes and diners, sleepy little motels, big hotels and cafenite.jpg casinos, and it appears in fiction and in movies. The name became immortalized in musical history when in 1929 Hogy Carmichael wrote the song Stardust. Since then it has become one of the most often recorded songs in America.

Although the name STARDUST is familiar to many, its choice as the name for a NASA mission to bring back samples from the tail of a comet has double meaning. The stuff of which comets are made is believed to be dust that had its origin in other stars. Observations by astronomers suggest that our entire solar system including the sun and all of the planets are made from dust that was originally cast off from burning stars in the distant past. In the words of the song made famous by Joni Mitchell, "We are stardust...."
cafeside.jpg Through powerful telescopes we can see examples of this happening in the universe around us where swirling balls of dust and gas are aggregating to form new stars and planets. It is believed the comets seen in our solar system today are simply remnants that did not get captured into our sun and planets. Thus the goal of the STARDUST mission is to get a bona fide sample of pristine comet dust to help us learn more about the origins of our own solar system and our place in the universe.

From Dust to Dust