At Pad 17A, Cape Canaveral Air Station, a Boeing Delta II rocket waits with its four solid rocket boosters for final preparations to launch the Stardust satellite on Feb. 6, 1999. The rocket will carry Stardust into space for a close encounter with the comet Wild 2 in January 2004. Using a medium called aerogel, Stardust will capture comet particles flying off the nucleus of the comet, plus collect interstellar dust for later analysis. The collected samples will return to Earth in a Sample Return Capsule to be jettisoned as Stardust swings by Earth in January 2006

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