Stardust at Wild 2

The Stardust spacecraft a long, long way from home. In this artist's depiction, the craft is passing the seething nucleus of Comet Wild 2 in January 2004. This weekend, a capsule from the craft will land in the Utah desert with a tiny sample of the comet's dust for laboratory analysis.

Courtesy NASA/JPL.

Late Saturday night, January 14-15, the Stardust space capsule, returning from Comet Wild 2, will streak into Earth's atmosphere over northern California and Nevada on its way to landing in northwestern Utah. The reentry should be visible from Seattle to south of San Francisco and as far east as Salt Lake City, weather permitting.

Stardust should reach a peak brilliance several times brighter than Venus around 1:56 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, 2:56 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, on the morning of the 15th. The sky will be washed with moonlight. For full details see NASA's site for viewing Stardust's reentry. Good luck!


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