Scientists are of the opinion that interstellar dust coming into our solar system, being brought in by Stardust is of great significance. The results have exceeded all expectations, according to Donald Brownlee, a University of Washington astronomy professor who is the principal investigator, or lead scientist, for Stardust. 'It's a huge success. We can see lots of impacts. There are big ones, there are small ones', he said.
According to Brownlee, there might be more than a million microscopic specks of dust embedded in Stardust's Aerogel collector. He said that Aerogel was a remarkable material that is as much as 99.9% empty space, and it greatly reduced the stress of impact on the particles.
AdvertisementThe carrot-shaped tracks of much larger particles are visible in the Aerogel from several feet away, Brownlee said, and in some of the tracks the black comet dust is visible at the end of the track. One track, according to him was almost large enough to put your little finger into it.
Scientists will now search the aerogel grid for dust samples, and more than 65,000 people have signed up to help in a project called Stardust@home, in which their home computers will examine images of tiny sections of the aerogel grid looking for dust particles.