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04.28.03

Links to broadcast quality audio files and transcripts -- Dr. Scott Sandford, astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., was interviewed about the Stardust comet sample-return mission, humanity's first opportunity to study the original material from which our solar system was built. Launched in 1999, the mission is flying to a rendezvous with the Wild-2 (pronounced VILD-TWO) comet in 2004 and is scheduled to return samples of cometary dust to Earth in 2006. The stardust mission is slated to be the first to return a sample from outside the Earth's moon system. More information about the mission is on the Internet at: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/

This interview was posted on the web April 28, 2003. Sandford provided these comments prior to a talk he gave about the mission at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, Calif. on April 23, 2003.


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The questions below are linked to broadcast quality as well as on-line audio files.

  1. Question One:What is the Stardust spacecraft’s mission? (14 SECONDS)
  2. Question Two: When did the spacecraft launch, and what does it look like? (59 SECONDS)
  3. Question Three: Where is the spacecraft actually going? (27 SECONDS)
  4. Question Four: What will the comet material be? (25 SECONDS)
  5. Question Five: How do you plan to capture the dust and keep it from being destroyed when it returns to Earth? (1:20 MINUTES)
  6. Question Six: How big is the return capsule? (26 SECONDS)
  7. Question Seven: What do you think we are going to learn from the samples? (1:01 MINUTES)
  8. Question Eight: How will you examine and analyze the returned cometary materials? (1:26 MINUTES)
  9. Question Nine: Do you have to quarantine the returned cometary materials? (1:34 MINUTES)
  10. Question Ten: Why did you pick the Wild-2 comet? (1:49 MINUTES)
  11. Question Eleven: Do you know where the capsule will land, or do you have to look for it? (40 SSECONDS)
  12. Question Twelve: What is your role in the mission? (1:52 MINUTES)
  13. Question Thirteen: How long will it take to analyze the samples? (1:18 MINUTES)
  14. Question Fourteen: What would you like to add about the Stardust mission? (1:42 MINUTES)
  15. Question Fifteen: What is the exact date of the comet encounter? (44 SECONDS)

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