The University of Arizona

TOF-SIMS analysis of cometary particles extracted from Stardust aerogel

T. STEPHAN, G. J. FLYNN, S. A. SANDFORD, M. E. ZOLENSKY

Abstract


Sections of seven cometary fragments extracted from the aerogel collector flown on the Stardust mission to comet 81P/Wild 2 were investigated with TOF-SIMS. These grains showed a rather heterogeneous chemical and mineralogical composition on a submicrometer scale. However, their average chemical composition is close to bulk CI chondritic values, which is consistent with analyses of numerous Stardust samples using various techniques. As a result, the TOF-SIMS analyses support the conclusion that Wild 2 has a CI-like bulk composition. The cometary particles resemble anhydrous chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles, which have previously been suggested to originate from comets. For one of the fragments, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that could possibly be attributed to the comet were observed.

Keywords


Stardust mission;cometary dust;chemical composition of comets;TOF-SIMS

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