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Stardust Status Report
Stardust Status Report
30 Mar 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

There were two Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes in the past week and all subsystems are performing normally.

The third heating sequence for Stardust's Navigation Camera started last week. The heating proved successful within a few days -- the camera regained its improved performance, from just the CCD and mirror motor heaters being turned on. This week commands were sent to place the CCD radiator in the path of the Sun's rays to raise the camera's temperature even higher. We expect to keep the heaters on for one to two months to drive as much of the contaminate out of the camera housing, minimizing any chance of recontamination when the heating cycle is completed. Weekly images will be taken to document the state of the camera coating during this time.

Tom Duxbury, STARDUST Project Manager, gave an invited talk on STARDUST to the European Geophysical Society XXVI General Assembly where he also was chairman of the Comets, Asteroids and Dust in the Solar System Session.

A new model for the expected dust production rates of Comet Wild 2 at encounter was produced using earth-based observations during the last Wild 2 apparition. This is the first model update since before launch and is part of the preparatory work leading to the Wild 2 Encounter Workshop in May.

For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page:

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov

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