Stardust

By cjohnson | January 14, 2006 11:14 am

artist's impression, from NASA siteDon’t forget that at 5:12am ET on Sunday, the Stardust “comet hunter” returns to earth. The event will be viewable on NASA TV, and do remember to keep your fingers crossed for good luck and a safe landing in Utah….

It should be rather exciting!

There are several resources (such as the artist’s impression that I borrowed) on NASA’s website. Quote from the site:

The Stardust spacecraft was launched on February 7, 1999, from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida, aboard a Delta II rocket. The primary goal of Stardust is to collect dust and carbon-based samples during its closest encounter with Comet Wild 2 – pronounced “Vilt 2” after the name of its Swiss discoverer – is a rendezvous scheduled to take place in January 2004, after nearly four years of space travel.

Additionally, the Stardust spacecraft will bring back samples of interstellar dust, including recently discovered dust streaming into our Solar System from the direction of Sagittarius. These materials are believed to consist of ancient pre-solar interstellar grains and nebular that include remnants from the formation of the Solar System. Analysis of such fascinating celestial specks is expected to yield important insights into the evolution of the Sun its planets and possibly even the origin of life itself.

As I’m a hopeless romantic, I’ll end with one of my favourite Hoagy Carmichael melodies, entitled “Stardust”. I’ve been known to play it on trumpet, but I’ll spare you a clip of that and give you a link to the man himself singing it, here. Some of the lyrics, by Mitchell Parish:

Stardust (Carmichael-Parish)

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights
Dreaming of a song
That melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
Ah, but that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song

Beside a garden wall
Where stars are bright
You are in my arms
That nightingale tells its fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
my stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain.

Ah, but that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song

Beside a garden wall
Where stars are bright
You are in my arms
That nightingale tells its fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
my stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain.

-cvj

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science
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