With dozens of the two types of, solar system bound, and interstellar traveling, particles identified thus far in the two years since the recovery of the return spacecraft, the first extracted particles are being viewed outside the Aerogel collector mechanism.
To read the details, you may have to register in a simple ID process, giving a 'username', and a few basic items of information, nothing detailed, and very quickly resolved. As the program is ongoing you might take the tutorial and help to finish the scanning work. More scientific than TV programming, quieter than radio, more mysterious than 'B' grade science fiction movies.
One of the first extracted particles in aerogel.
An item I found in the aerogel in a different section, not something I can explain as yet. Many strange items are present in the collector payload, competing with particle tracks. Great training for MER MI searching, and HiRISE image searching.
More images in the topic entries, and links.
The topic thumbnail image is a still from one of the 'movie' image sequences which I viewed on Valentine's Day, and shows a 3D 'spore' or 'seed' like object, only one of the thousands of odd and curious items unidentified in the silica aerogel transparent material still embedded in the return sample collector.
Perhaps someone can recognize this radiating 3D object which has the front surface flattened by a now missing 'casting wall'. I can see a very complex radiating micron thickness thread-like material, high ordered organization, interthreaded passages of solid threading, and a stand-alone characteristic to the embedded object.
The image frame is about 310 microns by 220 microns. The object diameter is about 105 microns.
Two additional views, one a negative view slightly altered. The other is a different image from a differing 'depth' into the 'movie' still image sequence.
These are not related to the linked particle track in red at the topic post. The linked particle is a probable meteoritic solar system bound object, and is a valid particle item.
This 'spore/seed' is a separate position on the collector, one of more than a million locations photomicrographed, waiting for volunteer assistance in ID attempts. My item shown is not an impacted, collected item, but a casual 'stowaway'.
Movie sequence number 4792927V1, for my thumbnail images.
A closeup of the linked 'first_particle_4.jpg' at the topic link in red. Here at 2x of the linked full size, and cropped, you can see at least two particle items embedded in the 'aerogel halo' column. Soon detailed views of these after removal of the aerogel material will be accessible.
Details of the current progress of the mission. Stardustathome has many linked updates and release news items from the topic first red link here.
Credit line for the original image above.
' Credit: NASA/JSC/Andrew Westphal Credit: NASA/JSC/Andrew Westphal '
Another debris assembly from one of the collector section 'movie' stacks, which are still image assemblies taken by depth in the silica aerogel medium.
The micron sized objects and shapes are completely dominating the surface of some images, however they form a 'focusing' plane for referencing the surface of the aerogel. With no items or texture at the surface it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish the physical limit of the aerogel mass.
Tracks are found anywhere from the surface down about 100 microns deep.
No track in this image.
A first paper on the processes during the Stardustathome extraction of potential particles has been released, for those who follow the mission developments over time.
The candidate particles and additional 'control' samples are studied by new technical procedures as a initial study in the identification of the very small and rather unique items.
A conclusion that the particular details recorded are possibly valuable in determining the sources of the particles and apparent tracks left by possible particles in the silica 'Aerogel' is issued, and the ongoing process of finding a collection of stardust objects, and micro-meteorite type items is still the concentration of the manpower in the mostly volunteer program.
Qualifying and filtering the candidates will be a long process, as the procedures are in the development phase.
During the initial selection of candidates by a simple direct magnified visual scan of the Aerogel sections, most all will be declined or held for a second round of instrumentation study, pending the cataloging of the most qualified candidates.
New volunteers for the work of finding candidate particles is always available to curious or committed persons in the public at the online site link in red above.