Stardust Status Report
April 14, 2003
As the Stardust spacecraft passed into a 'solar conjunction period' on
April 3, and there is currently no communication between the spacecraft and
the Stardust team here on terra firma. Solar conjunction period is the interval
that the Sun obscures the line of sight between Earth and the spacecraft,
making it virtually impossible to transmit radio signals between the two. The
last data relayed from the spacecraft prior to conjunction indicated that the
spacecraft was healthy and all subsystems continue to operate normally. The
Stardust team is confident that will remain the case when they reestablish
communications sometime after the end of solar conjunction on April 18.
The Stardust team held a science workshop on April 3 and 4 at Caltech.
Issues covered ran the gamut from the expected dust environment around Comet Wild
2 to the media plan for encounter.
The Pasadena Art Center recently made a three-dimensional image of the
brain. While artistic interpretations of the gray matter are somewhat
unusual enough what warrants its inclusion here is the
media in which it was depicted. The Art Center created this work of art
utilizing an etching/laser process in aerogel provided by the STARDUST
Technology Transfer team . The image can be seen on the cover of Nature
Neuroscience and at http://www.nature.com/nrn.
Information on the present position and orbits of the Stardust spacecraft
and Comet Wild 2 may be found on the "Where Is Stardust Right Now?"
web page located at:
For more information on the Stardust mission -- the first ever comet
sample return mission -- please visit the Stardust home page: