7 Mar 2010

Star dust brought back from space

5:49 am on 7 March 2010

Scientists may have identified the first specks of interstellar dust in material collected by a NASA spacecraft.

A stream of this dust flows through space and the tiny particles are building blocks that go into making stars and planets.

The spacecraft was primarily sent by the United States space agency to catch dust streaming from Comet Wild 2 and return it to Earth for analysis.

But scientists also set out to capture particles of interstellar dust.

The BBC reports the spacecraft extended a retractable device containing cells filled with a material called aerogel, a porous substance designed to trap dust molecules.