NASA puts Stardust Spacecraft in hibernation mode
NASA has informed that they have put their Stardust spacecraft in hibernation mode. As a result, most of the components of this craft have now been suspended. This craft has been a milestone for the space agency considering it collected the first comet dust ever gathered in space.
The probe also just recently jettisoned samples to Earth after spending seven years in the space through its journey. The samples were dispatched to the earth in a 100-pound capsule from the spacecraft, which parachuted to the Utah desert. However, the parent ship would continue to remain in space for the time being.
Only the solar panels and receiver antenna are staying on for the time being as NASA aims to keep the spacecraft safe and save fuel for further exploration in the space. Stardust project manager Tom Duxbury said in a statement: “Stardust has performed flawlessly these last seven years â€¦ and deserves a rest for a while.â€
Stardust has traveled as much as 3 billion miles in the orbit around the Sun and is now scheduled to pass near the Earth on Jan. 14, 2009.