• Quantitative organic and light-element analysis of comet 81P/Wild 2 particles using C-, N-, and O-μ-XANES

      Cody, G. D.; Ade, H.; Alexander, C. M. O'D.; Araki, T.; Butterworth, A.; Fleckenstein, H.; Flynn, G.; Gilles, M. K.; Jacobsen, C.; Kilcoyne, A. L. D.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Synchrotron-based soft X-ray micro-analysis was performed on particles extracted from the Stardust aerogel collector in order to obtain detailed organic functional group information on any organic solids captured as part of the Principal Examination suite of analyses for samples from comet 81P/Wild 2. It is observed that cometary organic carbon captured in aerogel is present in a number of different manifestations and often intimately associated with silicates. Carbon X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectra reveal considerable chemical complexity in all of the organic particles studied so far. Universally, the comet 81P/Wild 2 organic particles contain low concentrations of aromatic and/or olefinic carbon relative to aliphatic and heteroatom-containing functional groups, e.g., amide, carboxyl, and alcohol/ethers. N-XANES confirms the presence and assignments of these functional groups. In general, the XANES data record considerable chemical complexity across the range of organic samples currently analyzed. The atomic ratios, N/C and O/C, derived from XANES data reveal a wide range in heteroatom content; in all cases these elemental ratios are higher than that of primitive meteoritic organic matter. The wide range in chemistry, both in elemental abundances and specific organic functional groups, suggests that the comet 81P/Wild 2 organic solids may have multiple origins.
    • TOF-SIMS analysis of cometary matter in Stardust aerogel tracks

      Stephan, T.; Rost, D.; Vicenzi, E. P.; Bullock, E. S.; MacPherson, G. J.; Westphal, A. J.; Snead, C. J.; Flynn, G. J.; Sandford, S. A.; Zolensky, M. E. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Cometary matter in aerogel samples from the Stardust mission was investigated with TOF-SIMS for its elemental and organic composition. While single grains >1 micrometer 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.