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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:

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.

Question11. Do you know where the capsule will land, or do you have to look for it?

The audio recording is 40 seconds

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Full Transcript (below)

11. Do you know where the capsule will land, or do you have to look for it?(40 seconds)

Dr. Scott Sandford: "Ah, yeah, when we’re hunting for the capsule after it lands, hopefully, the hunt will be a short one. Ah.. there is… we’re going to land – ah – in Utah where there’s large open spaces and there are people who are skilled at finding things that fall out of the sky. And the return capsule has a little transponder-beeper on it, and so on, so that – it hopefully will find it very quickly. I mean, we don’t want it to lie around very long because we obviously don’t want the sample to be contaminated by terrestrial materials. So, when the capsule lands, we’d like to collect it, and get it into a clean space – a controlled space very quickly. We don’t want it rolling around in the mud, or anything like that. So…"

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