The University of Arizona

TOF-SIMS analysis of cometary matter in Stardust aerogel tracks

T. STEPHAN, D. ROST, E. P. VICENZI, E. S. BULLOCK, G. J. MACPHERSON, A. J. WESTPHAL, C. J. SNEAD, G. J. FLYNN, S. A. SANDFORD, M. E. ZOLENSKY

Abstract


Cometary matter in aerogel samples from the Stardust mission was investigated with TOF-SIMS for its elemental and organic composition. While single grains >1 ?m are highly variable in their chemical composition, nanometer-scale material found in the wall of one track has within a factor of 1.22 bulk CI chondritic element ratios relative to Fe for Na, Mg, Al, Ti, Cr, Mn, and Co. Compared to CI, a depletion in Ca by a factor of four and an enrichment in Ni by a factor of two was observed. These results seem to confirm recent reports of a CI-like bulk composition of Wild 2. The analysis of organic compounds in aerogel samples is complicated by the presence of contaminants in the capture medium. However, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that could possibly be attributed to the comet were observed.

Keywords


organic matter;cometary dust;TOF-SIMS;chemical composition of comets

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