Stardust, a NASA sample return mission, safely landed in the Utah desert in January 2006 after a seven-year mission, bringing with it the first cometary material from a known parent source, Comet 81P/Wild 2. One of the mission goals is to determine the starting material of the solar system. By sampling a comet, which has spent most of the past 4.6 Gyr beyond the orbit of Neptune, we expect to measure material presumed to be unaffected by the ignition of the sun. The Stardust spacecraft swept through the tail of the comet, collecting hundreds of micron-sized particles from that stream into aerogel, a low-density silica foam. An international team of materials scientists have studied the mineralogy, petrology, and elemental and isotopic abundance of these materials. Our group has studied elemental abundance using an x-ray microprobe; the morphology of the particles was examined using an x-ray microscope, which enables nanotomography of the particles while encased in aerogel. The unexpected conclusions are that much of the material from this comet was formed near the sun, after its ignition, and soon thereafter transported to the outer reaches of the solar system. These results have changed the way astrophysicists think about solar system formation.