Taste of a Comet: Spacecraft samples and views Wild 2 | Science News

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Taste of a Comet: Spacecraft samples and views Wild 2

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8:27am, January 7, 2004

Pummeled by dusty debris traveling six times as fast as a rifle bullet, a NASA spacecraft last week snatched up dust samples while taking the sharpest images ever of the icy core of a comet. Comets are considered to be pristine leftovers from the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago, and if all goes according to plan, the NASA craft Stardust will carry bits of that original material to Earth in January 2006.

Transporting samples of the comet, known as Wild 2 (pronounced vilt 2), remains Stardust's primary mission, but planetary scientists this week were marveling at the images radioed

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