Stardust Status Report
March 2, 2001
There were eleven Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes in the past
week and all subsystems are performing normally. The STARDUST spacecraft is
currently over 25 million kilometers from Earth, and has travelled over
1.5 billion kilometers since its launch in February 1999.
On Monday, February 26, the first of two mirror calibrations was
successfully performed. The mirror was moved in ten-degree increments,
from 0 to 180 degrees, and took an image at each stop. The resulting
pointing data will be compared with calibration data taken before
launch. This calibration will be used to provide data to the
software that determines the Comet Wild 2 nucleus position during
the upcoming encounter in 2004.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA), an instrument
developed by the Max-Planck Institute in Garching, Germany, will begin its next
collection period on March 16. CIDA will collect particles of interstellar
dust to determine their composition.
Bob Saxton, the "Honorary" Stardust Guitarist, played this song titled "Stardust"
for your listening pleasure:
For more information on the Stardust mission - the first ever
comet sample return mission - please visit the Stardust home page: