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Douglas Isbell/Donald Savage 
Headquarters, Washington, DC                     January 7, 1999
(Phone:  202/358-1547)

Mary Beth Murrill
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
(Phone:  818/354-5011)

Vince Stricherz
University of Washington, Seattle
(Phone:  206/543-2580)



Managers and scientists leading the team preparing the Stardust spacecraft to gather samples of icy comet dust and return them to Earth will conduct a media briefing on the mission and its science goals on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m. EST. The televised briefing will originate from NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Set for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL, on Feb. 6, 1999, Stardust will be the first U.S. mission dedicated solely to a comet and the first return of extraterrestrial material from outside the orbit of the Moon.

The primary goal of this Discovery Program mission is to collect comet dust and related measurements during a planned close encounter with comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt-2") in January 2004. Additionally, the Stardust spacecraft will bring back samples of interstellar dust particles, recently discovered material streaming into the Solar System. Ground-based analysis of these samples after their return in January 2006 should yield important insights into the evolution of the Sun and planets, and possibly into the origin of life itself.

Presenters at the briefing are scheduled to include:

Dr. Carl Pilcher, science director for Solar System exploration at NASA Headquarters

Dr. Kenneth Atkins, Stardust project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA

Dr. Donald Brownlee, Stardust principal investigator from the University of Washington, Seattle

Joseph Vellinga, Stardust program manager at Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO

Dr. John Rummel, Planetary Protection Officer, NASA Headquarters

Extensive information on Stardust, including mission-related art and images, and a public signature disk attached to the spacecraft, is available on the Internet at the following URL:


Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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