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NASA Stardust Status Report January 25, 2006

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2006

image

Dr. Peter Tsou, Stardust Deputy Principal Investigator

Since the Sample Canister has been delivered to the STARDUST cleanroom at Johnson Space Center (JSC) on January 17th, the Preliminary Examination Team (PET) along with JSC Curatorial staff have been making good progress toward processing the returned samples. Everything has proceeded smoothly; in fact, we are ahead of our planned schedule on several fronts. The Principal Investigator, Deputy Principal Investigator and several subteam leads have worked 8:00 am until near midnight for the last two days. We have removed many aerogel fragments and found many particles in them; removed 7 pieces of aluminum foil and found very many small craters in them; removed several particles from the fragments and examined them by IR; microtomed several particles; removed two Wild 2 aerogel cells from the tray; and sliced one of the removed aerogel cell with the harmonic saw.

Sometimes we have up to 7 teams working in parallel each day; several of the the PET members have worked from 8:00 am till near midnight in the last two days. Prepared samples will be distributed to PET subteam members today.

Images

[Aerogel Tile 115]

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/images/tsou_060124a.jpg

Looking down on Aerogel Tile 115. Entrance holes from the larger particles are circled.

[Ejecta in Aerogel]

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/images/tsou_060124b.jpg

Spectacular image of a particle that had penetrated the aluminum foil holding the aerogel block, leaving an impact crater in the foil and ejecta in the aerogel.

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