Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stardust surprises

NASA's Stardust Findings May Alter View of Comet Formation

"We have found very high-temperature minerals, which supports a particular model where strong bipolar jets coming out of the early sun propelled material formed near to the sun outward to the outer reaches of the solar system," said Michael Zolensky, Stardust curator and co-investigator at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. "It seems that comets are not composed entirely of volatile rich materials but rather are a mixture of materials formed at all temperature ranges, at places very near the early sun and at places very remote from it."

Of course, I'm all signed up for the "Stardust at Home" research project. I don't think there's any other science where amateurs at home can actually make meaningful contributions -- whether it's analysing data, discovering comets, measuring variable stars, or monitoring gamma ray bursts. Astronomy is so cool.


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