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Crash Landing

Rocket scientist Ed Lambert forwarded this story:

NASA scientists are looking for a nice, soft landing with the Stardust space probe returns to Earth in Utah's west desert next month.

At the least, they're hoping for a better landing on Jan. 15 than the 200 mph impact of the Genesis probe in September 2004. That mishap was blamed on gravity sensors having been installed backward.

"We feel very comfortable that we don't have any errors like the reversed (gravity) sensor for Genesis," said Thomas Duxbury, project manager for NASA's Stardust mission.

Stardust, which was launched in 1999, flew through the tail of the Wild 2 comet last year to collect some of the microscopic debris streaming from it.

Ed headlined the story: NASA to Drill Another Hole in the Utah Desert Next Month. Me, I'm hoping for a slightly softer landing.