World Book, Inc., is partnering with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to explain the origin of the solar system by educating students around the world about NASA’s Stardust mission. “NASA’s Stardust Returns to Earth,” a special feature on World Book’s Web sites, helps students and families learn more about the Stardust mission, the history of space exploration, and the elusive origins of the universe.

NASA scientists are searching for the origins of the solar system in a thimbleful of dust. Not just any dust, but the one milligram of interstellar and cometary dust collected by the Stardust spacecraft, which returned its samples to Earth on Jan. 15, 2006. It is the first space mission dedicated to collecting comet samples.

“NASA’s Stardust Returns to Earth” on the World Book Online Reference Center ( ) and the World Book Concise Encyclopedia ( ) explains the history of the mission — from Stardust’s pursuit of Comet Wild 2 and its capture of dust near the heart of the comet to the spacecraft’s dramatic return to Earth — in easy-to-read language that will transport students out of the classroom and into the Milky Way. “NASA’s Stardust Returns to Earth” features links to World Book articles, as well as photos, videos, and other media supplied by NASA.

In 2004, NASA selected World Book as a partner to help educate the public about space exploration. As a major provider of educational articles for NASA’s Web site, World Book was part of NASA’s special coverage in 2005 of the historic exploration of Saturn and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, by the Cassini and Huygens probes. World Book’s comet article was showcased on the NASA site in July 2005 when NASA performed its Deep Impact mission, which flew a probe into a comet. NASA also featured World Book’s International Space Station article to accompany Web coverage of the Space Shuttle’s return to flight in 2005.

“Just as NASA explores, discovers, and seeks understanding, World Book brings a universe of knowledge home to students and families,” says Paul Gazzolo, president of World Book, Inc. “We welcome the opportunity to support NASA’s missions by offering material to inform and excite children and their parents about the Stardust mission.”

Since 1917, World Book, Inc., has set the standard in publishing for providing accurate, current, and reliable research materials for both children and adults. Based in Chicago, Illinois, World Book is committed to creating learning materials that meet the highest standards of editorial excellence while keeping pace with the technological developments that define the computer age. This commitment has culminated in a wide range of products that include the number-one selling The World Book Encyclopedia, and leading electronic products such as the World Book Online Reference Center.

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