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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

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:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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