Contact: Steve Koppes
University of Chicago
Caption: This image shows tracks caused by cometary particles collected in aerogel ("solid smoke") and returned to Earth for study by the Stardust mission. Some of the impacted material can be seen at the ends of the tracks. These grains formed over 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system was forming from a disk of dust, gas, and ice, which new computer simulations show would have been an ideal environment for the creation of organic compounds.
Credit: Scott Sandford/NASA Ames
Usage Restrictions: News organizations may use this image in connection with reports about the research of Fred Ciesla and Scott Sandford.
Related news release: Organics probably formed easily in early solar system