NASA's Stardust spacecraft safely returned to Earth today carrying with it a treasure trove of dust samples from a comet encounter. Observers over the western part of the United States saw the craft streak across the sky as it fell to earth this morning for a touchdown at 5:10AM EST in the Utah desert. The Stardust mothership deployed a sample return capsule which was found during the night by a NASA helicopter and reportedly still intact (unlike the poor Genesis spacecraft which smashed into the ground)! This ends Stardust's 7 year mission to rendezvous with comet Wild 2 and bring back a sample. The mission is a success! Now it's up to the scientists to examine the comet samples, which could take as long as 10 years!