Scientist is Madras native

by: File Photo  - Dr. Doug Buettner holds a piece of Aerogel, a substance NASA uses to capture space particles without altering their composition.

   Former Madras resident Dr. Doug Buettner will be speaking at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on Nov. 19, about his contributions to the Stardust Mission.
   Buettner grew up in Madras, graduating from Madras High in 1984. After high school, he spent two years studying astrophysics at Boston University, after which he transferred to Oregon State and completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics in 1988 and 1991.
   His graduate work at Oregon State was funded in part by a NASA student research grant where he worked with OSU's Dr. David Griffiths and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Dr. Peter Tsou on hypervelocity intact capture; invented at JPL by Dr. Tsou.
   An autoclave Buettner and Tsou built at JPL was used to make "Aerogel," a substance which can capture space particles. The material was used on numerous space shuttle flights, and was flown on the Soviet Union's MIR space station to capture high and hyper-velocity dust in space.
   The lab also supplied Aerogel to insulate the electronics on Sojourner, the very first robotic rover to land on Mars, and ultimately his autoclave was used by Stardust mission scientists and engineers to make Aerogel to return, for the first time in human history, intact dust samples from a comet.
   The Stardust spacecraft, which has traveled 2 billion miles, was launched Feb. 7, 1999, and returned to earth Jan. 15, 2006, where its capsule landed safely in the Utah desert containing Aerogel with embedded samples of comet dust and interstellar dust.
   Buettner is now working in Colorado as a senior project engineer in the space-based Surveillance Division at the Aerospace Corp., where he is assisting government contractors to test and improve their ground software.
   For more information, visit, and click on "speakers."
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