This artistic picture shows the Stardust spacecraft during the comet P/Wild 2 encounter. The primary objective of the Stardust mission was to fly by comet P/Wild 2 and collect samples of dust and volatiles in the coma of the comet. It will then return these samples to Earth for detailed study. The mission will also collect samples of interstellar dust grains. Other objectives involve imaging the comet nucleus and preliminary analysis of the composition of the cometary dust particles. On Earth the cometary samples, representing primitive substances from the formation of the solar system, will undergo detailed analyses of the elemental, isotopic, mineralogical, chemical, and biogenic properties. The samples of interstellar dust, material from outside our solar system, will be carefully examined on Earth in regards to composition and size and velocity distribution.