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Stardust Sample First Peek Audio Clips
01.20.06
 
After a 7 year, nearly 3 billion mile journey, NASA's Stardust sample return capsule, fresh from its landing Sunday, January 15 in the Utah desert – was taken to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The capsule was pried open on Tuesday, giving eager scientists their first peek at the precious cargo of cometary and interstellar dust samples. The team spoke at a news conference Wednesday in Houston. They showed video of the team, clad in bunny suits and blue gloves, getting their first look at the tiny particles. These audio cuts are excerpts of that news conference. More information on the Stardust mission is online at www.nasa.gov/stardust .

CUT 1 – Dr. Don Brownlee, Stardust principal investigator, University of Washington, Seattle, describes the historic significance of opening the sample return capsule. Running time: :07
OUT: "IN HAND"
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Transcript of CUT 1:
"That was our first view of comet dust, so we were the first people on the history of this planet to see comet dust in hand."

CUT 2 – Dr. Don Brownlee says they learned something from the first comet particle they saw.
Running time: :21
OUT: "WHICH IS GREAT"
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Transcript of CUT 2: "You're seeing the very first, absolutely identified cometary particle that's ever been seen. And it appears to be a transparent mineral grain, which scientifically is great, because there's been lots of discussion about whether comets contain minerals or glass or whatever, and our very first one is it, so we've already got scientific results, which is great."

CUT 3 – Dr. Don Brownlee says the Stardust mission was a resounding success.
Running time: :20
OUT: "WILDEST EXPECTATIONS"
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Transcript of CUT 3: "At this point in time, we're absolutely thrilled. It's totally remarkable to have a fully successful mission, of all the things that can go wrong, either in space or even scientifically. None of the bad things happened and everything really exceeded our wildest expectations."

CUT 4 – Dr. Peter Tsou (SO), Stardust deputy principal investigator, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., says conditions were perfect when the Stardust capsule landed in Utah on Sunday, Jan. 15.
Running time: :22
OUT: "MIRACULOUS MISSION"
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Transcript of CUT 4:
"The homecoming is almost miraculous. The weather just about a couple of hours before, it's all dark, and it was snow and rain and it really threatened us. For some reason, must be some divine opening in the window for a few hours, because after we landed safely, we had a heavy snowstorm. This is a miraculous mission."

CUT 5 – Dr. Michael Zolensky, Stardust curator and co-investigator, NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, says many tiny particles gathered by Stardust will be shipped to scientists all over the world.
Running time: :23
OUT: "IN THE PAST"
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Transcript of CUT 5:
Zolensky: The fact is you can do an amazing amount of things with a really tiny grain you can't see, except with a microscope. You take this grain and slice it up like a loaf of bread and parcel out slices to scientists all over the world . They pass them around and trade them back and forth, and analyze them for all these critical features. Even on just one grain, you could spend months just looking at one little 10-micron grain, we've done it in the past.

CUT 6 – Dr. Michael Zolensky says that besides collecting comet dust, Stardust gathered interstellar dust, the material between the stars, and the public can help study these samples through the Stardust at Home program.
Running time: :18
OUT: "MANY, MANY MORE"
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Transcript of CUT 6:
"We invite anyone in the world to basically log on, sign up for this program and you can download images we're going to be scanning of this interstellar tray, millions of them, to be basically looking for impacts in the privacy of their own home. We already have more than 50,000 people signing up for this, and we hope for many, many more."

Note to Editors: More information on the Stardust at Home program is at http://stardustathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/ .