Space Science Reviews

, Volume 138, Issue 1–4, pp 247–258

Assessing the elemental composition of comet 81P/Wild 2 by analyzing dust collected by Stardust

Article

Abstract

One of the prime objectives in the analysis of cometary dust collected by the Stardust space mission is to determine the elemental composition of comet 81P/Wild 2. For this analysis, samples captured by two sampling media, silica aerogel and Al foil, were available. While aerogel was qualified to sample the dust almost intact, particles impinging on Al foils produced hypervelocity impact craters with residual cometary matter. Both sample types delivered valuable information on the cometary inventory, even though a slight loss of volatiles was observed for impact residues on Al foils. Altogether an elemental composition close to solar elemental abundances was observed, indicating that the early solar system was chemically rather homogeneous from the innermost regions close to the sun to the outer edge of the solar system, the presumed region of cometary origin.

Keywords

Comets Stardust Wild 2 Element composition 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für PlanetologieMünsterGermany
  2. 2.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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