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Stardust Comet Aerogel
12.08.06
 
Berkeley clean room Researchers prepare to cut an impact from an aerogel collector. Click on the image for full-resolution.
Stardust Aerogel in clean room The aerogel "Keystoning" operation in action. Each of the two needles performs a specific cutting operation. Click on the image for full-resolution.
screen shot An image of the glass needle performing the first series of cuts. Researchers can monitor the progress of the keystone operation from the computer monitor or from outside the cleanroom. Click on the image for full-resolution.
Stardust Aerogel under observation The aerogel sample being cut in this image has had a standard material shot into it at a very high velocity. Analog materials treated in this way can be used to calibrate the analytical techniques used to study Stardust particles. Click on the image for full-resolution.
'needles' mounted on micro-manipulators Special 'needles' mounted on micro-manipulators are controlled by computer to carefully and precisely cut out sections of aerogel that contain cometary samples. Click on the image for full-resolution.
Berkeley physicist The Stardust aerogel tiles are kept under a nitrogen purge when they are not in use. Click on the image for full-resolution.
Stardust Aerogel A researcher examines a Stardust aerogel tile under a stereo microscope. Click on the image for full-resolution.
Berkeley clean room A researcher examines a Stardust aerogel tile under a stereo microscope. Click on the image for full-resolution.
Stardust aerogel collector material A piece of Stardust aerogel collector material in a special container that is designed to protect and secure it during cutting and sample preparation. Click on the image for full-resolution.
 
 
Image Credit: NASA/Ames