<P dir=ltr align=left><FONT color=crimson><STRONG>Comet<SUP>,</SUP>s surface stuns scientists</STRONG></FONT></P>
June 18 - A comet called Wild 2 is a wild little world, findings released Thursday reveal.
"We were totally stunned by what we saw," said the University of Washington's Don Brownlee, principal investigator for the mission. The results were published in the journal Science.
Even more exciting for scientists on Earth, the spacecraft will bring back samples from Wild (pronounced "vilt") 2 in January 2006. Analysis of dust from the flyby suggests the particles will be rich in organic material from the early solar system, offering clues to the origins of life on Earth.
From Earth, we see a comet's coma, the cloud of material around its heart. Stardust passed deep within the coma to get a close-up view of the nucleus.
"We were basically flying through a cloud of bullets that were coming at 13,000 miles an hour against the spacecraft," Brownlee said.