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 humanitys 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 Earths 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.
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3. Where is the spacecraft actually going?(27 SECONDS)
Dr. Scott Sandford: "Well, were going to encounter a comet in deep space. The orbit actually takes the Stardust spacecraft at its closest approach to the sun, its at one AU. Its at a distance from the sun that the Earth is from the sun. But at its farthest, its well out into the asteroid belt. So, its 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 were some distance a little further from the sun than where the Earth is."
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