What is Stardust@Home?
In 2006, the sample return capsule from the Stardust spacecraft gently parachuted onto the Utah desert. The capsule contained precious particles collected during Stardust’s dramatic encounter with a comet in 2004.It had something else, even rarer and no less precious: tiny particles of interstellar dust that originated from distant stars. They are the first such contemporary interstellar dust particles ever collected in space and returned to Earth. Before they can be studied, these tiny grains have to be found. The particles are so tiny that it would require several years if done by scientists only! As scientists cannot do this by themselves, they are asking for help from talented volunteers like you from all over the world.
What do you do?
After going through a web-based training session, you have to pass a test to register and participate. After passing the test and registering, you will search each field for interstellar dust impacts. A virtual microscope downloads and displays these images for you so that you can do exactly what someone looking into an actual microscope would do: focus up and down in each movie to look for tracks.
Relations with school topics
The Solar System, stars, the origin and structure of the Universe, the invisible Universe