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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.

Question 4. What will the comet material be?

The audio recording is 25 seconds

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Full Transcript (below)

4. What will the comet material be?(25 SECONDS)

Dr. Scott Sandford: "Well, we’re only going to collect dust that’s in the coma – the cloud of dust that surrounds the nucleus of the comet. Ah…so, the actual sample will be very small. We’ll collect thousands of particles, but these particles will all be microscopic in size. So, in terms of mass – and you know – the number of pounds or kilograms of material, there won’t be very much. But in terms of what we can learn scientifically from what we bring back – we’ll be able to learn a whole lot."

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