Did you know that on this day, corresponding to January 15th, but from 2006, NASA’s Stardust spacecraft returned to Earth with a capsule containing the first samples of an interstellar comet and dust, two weeks ago, the spacecraft passed a visit to Comet Wild 2 “I gathered some dust, and the capsule returned to Earth after spending a long seven-year journey in space.
According to the American “space” website, the capsule landed in Utah, where scientists analyzed dust grains and discovered some organic compounds, such as nitrogen and hydrocarbons.
Scientists also found materials older than the sun on the comet, as the particles collected by the Stardust mission were the remains of the ancient building blocks of our Solar System.
Stardust was the first mission of its kind that a robotic vehicle would return a sample from a space object, as it had not landed on the comet, but had flown close enough to collect samples of dust grains from the comet.
It is this cloudy area around a comet – from which evaporated ice and other particles are released away from the comet’s surface – that forms the comet’s “tail”, and perhaps what the agency did where NASA was collecting a sample of dust from a comet is something no one preceded in it.
It is worth noting that comets are aliens that are very different from asteroids with a solid structure. On the contrary, they are celestial bodies of ice, dust, and organic compounds, in addition to a group of gases such as carbon dioxide or methane, which are converted from solid material to gas as soon as they approach the sun.