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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: 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.

Question 3. Where is the spacecraft actually going?

The audio recording is 27 seconds

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Full Transcript (below)


3. Where is the spacecraft actually going?(27 SECONDS)

Dr. Scott Sandford: "Well, we’re going to encounter a comet in deep space. The orbit actually takes the Stardust spacecraft – at its closest approach to the sun, it’s at one AU. It’s at a distance from the sun that the Earth is from the sun. But at its farthest, it’s well out into the asteroid belt. So, it’s orbit is a bit of an ellipse that takes us farther out, and then brings us back closer in. And we actually encounter the comet when we’re some distance – a little further from the sun than where the Earth is."

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