http://www.uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=21550 [Broken]Stardust nears end of epic journey; researchers await its treasure
Donald Brownlee's heart skipped a beat six years ago when the launch of the Stardust spacecraft didn't happen as planned. The University of Washington astronomy professor has experienced many other tense times since the historic mission blasted off a day late, and its return to Earth on Jan. 15 will be just one more white-knuckle moment.
Just before 3 a.m. MST, the spacecraft will jettison its return capsule, which will plunge into Earth's atmosphere at nearly 29,000 miles per hour, the greatest return speed ever recorded. A few moments later, after the capsule slows to just faster than the speed of sound, a parachute will apply the brakes and Stardust will settle to the ground on the Air Force's Utah Testing and Training Range southwest of Salt Lake City. [continued]
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