In situ identification of a CAI candidate in 81P/Wild 2 cometary dust by confocal high resolution synchrotron X-ray fluorescence
ABSTRACT We detected additional CAI-like material in STARDUST mission samples of comet 81P/Wild 2. Two highly refractory cometary dust fragments were identified in the impact track 110 [C2012, 0, 110, 0, 0] by applying high resolution synchrotron induced confocal and conventional XRF analysis (HR SR-XRF). The use of a polycapillary lens in front of the detector for confocal spectroscopy dramatically improves the fidelity of particle measurements by removing contribution from the surrounding aerogel. The high spatial resolution (300 × 300 nm2; 300 × 1000 nm2) obtained allowed the detailed non-destructive in situ (trapped in aerogel) study of impacted grains at the sub-μm level.For the two largest particles of the track, the terminal particle and a second particle along the impact track, Ca concentration is up to 30 times higher than CI and Ti is enriched by a factor of 2 compared to CI. High resolution (HR) SR-XRF mapping also reveals that the highest concentrations of Ca, Ti, Fe (and Ni) measured within each grain belongs to different areas of the respective maps which indicate that the particles are composed of several chemically diverse mineral phases. This is in agreement with the finding of a complex phase assemblage of highly refractory minerals in the first ever detected Stardust mission CAI grain “Inti” of Track 25.Principle component analysis (PCA) is a powerful tool for extracting the dominant mineral components and was applied to the two grains indicating that regions in the terminal particle and the second particle are consistent with anorthite or grossite and gehlenite, monticellite or Dmitryivanovite (CaAl2O4), respectively.Our new findings demonstrate that the HR SR-XRF with confocal geometry and PCA analysis is capable of identifying CAI-like fragments without the need to extract particles from the aerogel matrix which is a time-consuming, complex and destructive process.Furthermore, the detection of new CAI-like fragments in the coma dust of comet 81P/Wild 2 strengthens the observation that strong mixing effects and, therefore, mass transport before or during comet formation must have occurred at least up to the region where Kuiper Belt comets formed (∼30 AU).
Article: Whence comets?[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Recent advances in cometary science have indicated the importance of mixing of materials in the disk where the planets of our solar system formed. Now, the results from the Stardust Discovery Mission unambiguously show that even more extensive and earlier mixing of the material took place, raising new challenges for theories of the protoplanetary disk and the formation of comets.Science 01/2007; 314(5806):1708-9. · 31.20 Impact Factor
Article: Comet 81P/Wild 2 under a microscope.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The Stardust spacecraft collected thousands of particles from comet 81P/Wild 2 and returned them to Earth for laboratory study. The preliminary examination of these samples shows that the nonvolatile portion of the comet is an unequilibrated assortment of materials that have both presolar and solar system origin. The comet contains an abundance of silicate grains that are much larger than predictions of interstellar grain models, and many of these are high-temperature minerals that appear to have formed in the inner regions of the solar nebula. Their presence in a comet proves that the formation of the solar system included mixing on the grandest scales.Science 01/2007; 314(5806):1711-6. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We measured the elemental compositions of material from 23 particles in aerogel and from residue in seven craters in aluminum foil that was collected during passage of the Stardust spacecraft through the coma of comet 81P/Wild 2. These particles are chemically heterogeneous at the largest size scale analyzed ( approximately 180 ng). The mean elemental composition of this Wild 2 material is consistent with the CI meteorite composition, which is thought to represent the bulk composition of the solar system, for the elements Mg, Si, Mn, Fe, and Ni to 35%, and for Ca and Ti to 60%. The elements Cu, Zn, and Ga appear enriched in this Wild 2 material, which suggests that the CI meteorites may not represent the solar system composition for these moderately volatile minor elements.Science 01/2007; 314(5806):1731-5. · 31.20 Impact Factor