Stardust has the primary goal to return to Earth samples of dust and volatiles from Comet P/Wild 2 and from interplanetary space.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) is a time-of-flight mass spectrometer for ions created at impact on a target. This instrument was not only be operated at the successful cometary flyby on January 2, 2004, but also during certain periods of the cruise phase, mainly with the aim to collect interstellar dust grains.
Stardust was successfully launched on 7 February 1999 and on 22 February 1999 CIDA was first switched on. On 2 February 2004 Stardust rushed past comet Wild and it's return to Earth with the collected dust particles is scheduled for 15 January 2006.


Launch (Delta II)

February 7, 1999
End of Mission January 15, 2006

successful fly by on January 2, 2004

MPE Participation:

  • Cometary and Instellar Dust
  • Analyzer (CIDA)

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