Stardust@Home is a space science project in which volunteers from the general public help scientists locate particles from distant stars. The particles were captured by the spacecraft Stardust and are embedded in collector plates made of aerogel. The aerogel plates, and the particles within them, were returned to Earth in a sample return capsule on January 15, 2006. The purpose of Stardust@home is to find the particles within the aerogel plates.
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Stardust collected a few dozen interstellar dust particles during this time. Nobody knows what the typical interstellar dust grain looks like. This is the very first sample of solid material from the local interstellar medium ever to be returned to Earth for analysis. The challenge is to find them in the aerogel collectors. They expect that the best way to find these particles is by searching using the human eye. Citizen participation is absolutely critical to the success of this project.