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April 17, 2003
Kathleen Burton
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-1731 or 650/604-9000


Members of the news media and public are invited to attend the fifth talk in this year's 2002-2003 Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, to be held on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. PDT at Foothill College's Smithwick Theater, Los Altos Hills, Calif. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.


Humanity’s first opportunity to study the original material from which our solar system was built will be the subject of a free public lecture at Foothill College on Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. PDT. The talk is entitled “The Stardust Mission: Bringing Home a Comet.”

Stardust mission co-investigator Dr. Scott Sandford of NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley, will describe the sample-return mission to a comet. Launched in 1999, the mission will rendezvous with a comet in 2004 and return samples of cometary dust to Earth in 2006. The Stardust mission is the first return of a sample from outside the Earth’s moon system.

“NASA Ames is pleased to co-sponsor the popular Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, which exemplifies excellence in science outreach,” said NASA Ames Research Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. “This is one important element of our efforts to inspire the next generation of space explorers.”

Sandford is a renowned expert in the field of meteoritics, the study of rocks that fall from space. He has helped discover a number of such rocks in Antarctica. Among his other scientific interests is the study of molecules in clouds of interstellar dust from which new stars and planets form.

This is the fourth year of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, which is co-sponsored by NASA Ames, Foothill College's Division of Physical Science, Mathematics and Engineering, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the SETI Institute.

The lecture series is held at Foothill College's Smithwick Theater in Los Altos Hills. From Interstate 280, exit at El Monte Road and travel west to the campus. Visitors must purchase a one-day campus-parking permit for $2. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Young people over the age of 13 are welcome. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.

For more information about the Stardust mission, visit:



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