• A TEM study of thermally modified comet 81P/Wild 2 dust particles by interactions with the aerogel matrix during the Stardust capture process

      Leroux, H.; Rietmeijer, F. J. M.; Velbel, M. A.; Brearley, A. J.; Jacob, D.; Langenhorst, F.; Bridges, J. C.; Zega, T. J.; Stroud, R. M.; Cordier, P.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We report the results of high-resolution, analytical and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), including intensive element mapping, of severely thermally modified dust from comet 81P/Wild 2 caught in the silica aerogel capture cells of the Stardust mission. Thermal interactions during capture caused widespread melting of cometary silicates, Fe-Ni-S phases, and the aerogel. The characteristic assemblage of thermally modified material consists of a vesicular, silica-rich glass matrix with abundant Fe-Ni-S droplets, the latter of which exhibit a distinct core-mantle structure with a metallic Fe,Ni core and a iron-sulfide rim. Within the glassy matrix, the elemental distribution is highly heterogeneous. Localized amorphous dust-rich patches contain Mg, Al, and Ca in higher abundances and suggest incomplete mixing of silicate progenitors with molten aerogel. In some cases, the element distribution within these patches seems to depict the outlines of ghost mineral assemblages, allowing the reconstruction of the original mineralogy. A few crystalline silicates survived with alteration limited to the grain rims. The Fe- and CI-normalized bulk composition derived from several sections show CI-chondrite relative abundances for Mg, Al, S, Ca, Cr, Mn, Fe, and Ni. The data indicate a 5 to 15% admixture of fine-grained chondritic comet dust with the silica glass matrix. These strongly thermally modified samples could have originated from a finegrained primitive material, loosely bound Wild 2 dust aggregates, which were heated and melted more efficiently than the relatively coarse-grained material of the crystalline particles found elsewhere in many of the same Stardust aerogel tracks (Zolensky et al. 2006).
    • Bulbous tracks arising from hypervelocity capture in aerogel

      Trigo-Rodríguez, J. M.; Domínguez, G.; Burchell, M. J.; Hörz, F.; Llorca, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      The capture of 81P/Wild 2 cometary particles in aerogel with a well-defined impact velocity (6.1 km s^(1)) has provided a wealth of data concerning the composition of Jupiter-family comets. To interpret this data we must understand the capture processes in the aerogel. A major category of tracks are those with bulbous cavities lined with particle fragments. We present a new model to account for the production of these turnip-shaped impact cavities. The model uses a thermodynamic approach in order to account for the likely expansion of vapors from particles rich in volatile species. Volume measurements of some of the largest Stardust tracks analysed so far, together with theoretical considerations, indicate that for the majority of Stardust cometary aggregate particle impacts, fragmentation of relatively weak impactors (combined with radial expansion of the resulting subgrains) is the leading cause of bulbous track production, while volatile release of vapors played a secondary role.
    • Bulk mineralogy and three-dimensional structures of individual Stardust particles deduced from synchrotron X-ray diffraction and microtomography analysis

      Nakamura, T.; Tsuchiyama, A.; Akaki, T.; Uesugi, K.; Nakano, T.; Takeuchi, A.; Suzuki, Y.; Noguchi, T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      During preliminary examination of particles released from 81P/Wild 2 short-period comet, we analyzed 28 particles by nondestructive means, high-sensitive X-ray diffraction and high-resolution X-ray tomography, in order to characterize bulk mineralogy and three-dimensional structures of individual particles. The analyses were performed at synchrotron facilities, KEK and SPring-8 in Japan. Twenty-eight particles from 5 to 25 micrometers in size, including 25 particles from Track 35 and 3 particles from Track 44, were first analyzed by X-ray diffraction and then 4 out of 28 particles were analyzed by X-ray tomography. All particles are classified into two groups based on silicate crystallinity: crystalline type and amorphous-rich type. The abundance of the former is approximately 10% of the particles investigated. Crystalline type shows very sharp reflections of olivine and low-Ca pyroxene, while amorphous-rich type shows no or very weak silicate reflections, suggesting that silicates are mostly amorphous. Broad reflections of Fe sulfides and Fe silicides are detected from most of amorphous-rich type particles. Subsequent tomography analysis revealed that the crystalline type is non-porous material consisting of coarse silicate crystals larger than 1 micrometer in size, while the amorphous-rich type is very porous aggregates with amorphous silicates and small Fe sulfide and Fe metallic grains. All characteristics of amorphousrich type particles indicate that most of them are melted and rapidly solidified during capture in the silica aerogel. On the other hand, the crystalline type is indigenous cometary particle formed through high-temperature heating episodes that have taken place prior to formation of comet Wild 2. One of the crystalline-type particles (C2054,0,35,6,0) consists of Mg-rich olivine, pyroxene, and kamacite and exhibits porphyritic or poikilitic texture very similar to chondrules.
    • Carbon investigation of two Stardust particles: A TEM, NanoSIMS, and XANES study

      Matrajt, G.; Ito, M.; Wirick, S.; Messenger, S.; Brownlee, D. E.; Joswiak, D.; Flynn, G.; Sandford, S.; Snead, C.; Westphal, A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      In this work we present the results of a systematic search for cometary organics in 14 Stardust particles (particles from comet 81P/Wild 2, captured by NASAs Stardust mission) by TEM and multidisciplinary studies (XANES and NanoSIMS) of Febo and Ada, two of the organic-bearing particles identified. The combination of the three analytical techniques has established the presence of organic, cometary degrees C in both particles. Using energy-filtered and high-resolution imaging it was shown that the degrees C is amorphous and rare, given that it is found in grains less than or equal to 200 nm in size that are not abundant throughout the particles. The XANES maps and spectra of the carbonaceous areas identified with the TEM have shown that the carbonaceous material is organic due to the presence of carbonyl (C=O) functional groups and the overlapping of degrees C and N on the same grains. In addition, several different C-XANES spectra were obtained from the same particle, suggesting that there is diversity in the types of carbonaceous phases present in these particles, as well as a heterogeneous distribution of the carbonaceous phases within these particles. The C-XANES spectra obtained are different from C-XANES spectra of carbonaceous chondrites and IDPs. In the particle Febo we found five spots showing a pronounced enrichment in the isotope 15N (delta-15N from 420 to 639 +/- 20 to 70 ppm, 1-sigma) that were clearly associated with the C-rich regions. The carbonaceous material has approximately solar C and D/H isotopic compositions, and the bulk O isotopic composition was found to be delta-17O = -18 +/- 13 ppm and delta-18O = -37 +/- 12 ppm (1-sigma). In the particle Ada we found a C-rich phase with enrichments in the isotope 15N (delta-15N = 550 +/- 70 ppm, 1-sigma) and the isotope D (delta-D = 610 +/- 254 ppm, 1-sigma). The C isotopic composition at this phase is solar (delta-13C = -4 +/-29 ppm, 1 sigma). The bulk O isotopic composition of Ada was found to be delta-17O = 9 +/- 14.6 ppm and delta-18O = -7.3 +/- 8.1 ppm (2-sigma).
    • Characteristics of cometary dust tracks in Stardust aerogel and laboratory calibrations

      Burchell, M. J.; Fairey, S. A. J.; Wozniakiewicz, P.; Brownlee, D. E.; Hörz, F.; Kearsley, A. T.; See, T. H.; Tsou, P.; Westphal, A.; Green, S. F.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      The cometary tray of the NASA Stardust spacecraft’s aerogel collector was examined to study the dust captured during the 2004 flyby of comet 81P/Wild 2. An optical scan of the entire collector surface revealed 256 impact features in the aerogel (width >100 micrometers). Twenty aerogel blocks (out of a total of 132) were removed from the collector tray for a higher resolution optical scan and 186 tracks were observed (track length >50 micrometers and width >8 micrometers). The impact features were classified into three types based on their morphology. Laboratory calibrations were conducted that reproduced all three types. This work suggests that the cometary dust consisted of some cohesive, relatively strong particles as well as particles with a more friable or low cohesion matrix containing smaller strong grains. The calibrations also permitted a particle size distribution to be estimated for the cometary dust. We estimate that approximately 1200 particles bigger than 1 micrometer struck the aerogel. The cumulative size distribution of the captured particles was obtained and compared with observations made by active dust detectors during the encounter. At large sizes (>20 micrometers) all measures of the dust are compatible, but at micrometer scales and smaller discrepancies exist between the various measurement systems that may reflect structure in the dust flux (streams, clusters etc.) along with some possible instrument effects.
    • Characterization of carbon- and nitrogen-rich particle fragments captured from comet 81P/Wild 2

      Gallien, J.-P.; Khodja, H.; Herzog, G. F.; Taylor, S.; Koepsell, E.; Daghlian, C. P.; Flynn, G. J.; Sitnitsky, I.; Lanzirotti, A.; Sutton, S. R.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We studied three Stardust fragments with infrared spectroscopy to characterize organic matter; with synchrotron-induced X-ray fluorescence to determine Fe contents and certain elemental ratios to iron; with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to image sample morphology and to detect semiquantitatively Mg, Al, Si, Ca, and Fe; and with nuclear reaction analysis (NRA) to measure degrees C, N, O, and Si. A fourth fragment was analyzed by SEM only. Fragment C2054,0,35,21 from track 35 (hereafter C21) is extremely rich in degrees C and contains appreciable concentrations of Mg, Al, and Ca, but little Fe. Fragments C2054,0,35,23 (C23), C2044,0,41 (C41), and C2054,0,35,51,0 (C51), from tracks 35, 41, and 35, respectively, consist largely but not exclusively of aerogel. C23 contains Mg and finely dispersed S, but little Al, Ca or Fe. Pooled CI-normalized elemental ratios for C21, C23, and C41 are as follows: Ti/Fe, 5.0; Cr/Fe, 0.84; Mn/Fe, 0.97; Ni/Fe, 2.4; and Zn/Fe, 31. The enrichments in Ti and Zn may be related to the presence of aerogel. Minimum weight percentages of degrees C and N estimated without correcting for the presence of aerogel are 30 and 0.7 for C21; 2.8 and 0.2 for C23; 1.2 and 0.14 for C41. After corrections for the presence of aerogel containing 1.4 wt% degrees C and 0.02 wt% N, the corresponding results are 37 and 0.85 for C21; and 10 and 1 for C23; and ~1 and ~1, for C41 (The results for C41 have large uncertainties). These weight percentages are larger than or comparable to values for carbonaceous meteorites. degrees C/N atomic ratios without/without aerogel corrections are 51/51 for C21, 17/11 for C23, and 10/~1 for C41. Within the uncertainties these values are within the range for carbonaceous meteorites.
    • Chemical composition and heterogeneity of Wild 2 cometary particles determined by synchrotron X-ray fluorescence

      Lanzirotti, A.; Sutton, S. R.; Flynn, G. J.; Newville, M.; Rao, W. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Seven cometary dust particle tracks in Stardust aerogel were studied using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence methods at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NY) and Advanced Photon Source (IL). Elemental maps were produced for each of the tracks and elemental abundances for 156 individual fragments within these tracks were determined. Whole-track elemental abundances were inferred by summing the elemental masses for the fragments in each track and scaling by the ratio of total Fe in the map and total Fe in the fragments. In general, whole-track and terminal-particle abundances are dissimilar. The total Fe masses ranged from 4 to 2200 pg, corresponding to impactors in the size range of 2.7 to 22 micrometers if Fe abundances are equal to the chondritic value. Systematic variations in element abundance with fragment distance from the aerogel entry point were generally subtle but were pronounced in one track (C2115,19). In this track, Zn/Fe was about three orders of magnitude higher at the top, Cr/Fe was two orders of magnitude higher at the bottom, and S was relatively uniform. Compositional convergence data showed that typically analysis of ~10 fragments was needed to reach convergent whole-track abundance. Zinc was an exception, showing nonconvergent profiles and steps due to the presence of rare, high-Zn fragments. The resulting wholetrack elemental abundances show diverse patterns that are generally chondritic (i.e., within a factor of three of CI abundances) with some exceptions, notably depletions in S and enrichments in the moderately volatile elements Cu, Zn, and Ga. Enrichments in large ion lithophile elements relative to Fe were observed in one track. Correlation matrices showed several strong elemental correlations, notably selenium associated with sulfur (sulfides), a ubiquitous correlation of the first-row transition metals Cr, Mn, and Fe attributed to the presence of pyroxene, and enrichments of gallium associated with calcium, likely affiliated with Mg-Al glass.
    • Combined micro-Raman, micro-infrared, and field emission scanning electron microscope analyses of comet 81P/Wild 2 particles collected by Stardust

      Rotundi, A.; Baratta, G. A.; Borg, J.; Brucato, J. R.; Busemann, H.; Colangeli, L.; D'Hendecourt, L.; Djouadi, Z.; Ferrini, G.; Franchi, I. A.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We report combined micro-infrared, micro-Raman, and field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) analyses of particles collected by the Stardust spacecraft during its flyby of comet 81P/Wild 2 on 2 January 2004 and successfully returned back to Earth on 15 January 2006. We present mid-infrared (IR) spectra of six of these particles. The CH2/CH3 ratios inferred from the infrared data are greater than those seen in organics in the diffuse interstellar medium, possibly indicating the presence of longer or less branched aliphatic chains. The micro-Raman data offer insights into the state of the order of the carbonaceous component present in the particles. Raman parameters for most of the particles span a similar range to that observed in interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and the most primitive meteorites. Both the IR and Raman data imply the presence of a very labile carbonaceous component. Hydrated silicates may be present in two particles of Track 35, one of which may also contain carbonates, but further investigations with other techniques need to be performed to confirm these findings. In some cases, the analyses are difficult to interpret because of the presence of compressed aerogel mixed with the grains.
    • Comparing Wild 2 particles to chondrites and IDPs

      Zolensky, M.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Rietmeijer, F.; Leroux, H.; Mikouchi, T.; Ohsumi, K.; Simon, S.; Grossman, L.; Stephan, T.; Weisberg, M.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We compare the observed composition ranges of olivine, pyroxene, and Fe-Ni sulfides in Wild 2 grains with those from chondritic interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and chondrite classes to explore whether these data suggest affinities to known hydrous materials in particular. Wild 2 olivine has an extremely wide composition range, from Fa096, with a pronounced frequency peak at Fa1. The composition range displayed by the low-calcium pyroxene is also very extensive, from Fs48 to Fs0, with a significant frequency peak centered at Fs5. These ranges are as broad or broader than those reported for any other extraterrestrial material. Wild 2 Fe-Ni sulfides mainly have compositions close to that of FeS, with less than 2 atom% Ni; to date, only two pentlandite grains have been found among the Wild grains, suggesting that this mineral is not abundant. The complete lack of compositions between FeS and pentlandite (with intermediate solid solution compositions) suggests (but does not require) that FeS and pentlandite condensed as crystalline species, i.e., did not form as amorphous phases, which later became annealed. While we have not yet observed any direct evidence of water-bearing minerals, the presence of Ni-bearing sulfides, and magnesium-dominated olivine and low-Ca pyroxene does not rule out their presence at low abundance. We do conclude that new investigations of major- and minorelement compositions of chondrite matrix and IDPs are required.
    • Curation, spacecraft recovery, and preliminary examination for the Stardust mission: A perspective from the curatorial facility

      Zolensky, Michael; Nakamura-Messenger, Keiko; Fletcher, Lisa; See, Thomas (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We describe briefly some of the challenges to the Stardust mission, curation, and sample preliminary analysis from the perspective of the Curation Office at the Johnson Space Center. Our goal is to inform persons planning future sample returns so that they may learn from both our successes and challenges (and avoid some of our mistakes). The Curation Office played a role in the mission from its inception, most critically assisting in the design and implementation of the spacecraft contamination control plan, and in planning and documenting the recovery of the spacecraft re-entry capsule in Utah. A unique class 100 cleanroom was built to maintain the returned comet and interstellar samples in clean comfort, and to permit dissection and allocation of samples for analysis.
    • Detection of cometary amines in samples returned by Stardust

      Glavin, D. P.; Dworkin, J. P.; Sandford, S. A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      The abundances of amino acids and amines, as well as their enantiomeric compositions, were measured in samples of Stardust comet-exposed aerogel and foil using liquid chromatography with UV fluorescence detection and time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-FD/ToF-MS). A suite of amino acids and amines including glycine, L-alanine, Beta-alanine (BALA), gamma-amino-eta-butyric acid (GABA), epsilon-amino-eta-caproic acid (EACA), ethanolamine (MEA), methylamine (MA), and ethylamine (EA) were identified in acid-hydrolyzed, hot-water extracts of these Stardust materials above background levels. With the exception of MA and EA, all other primary amines detected in cometexposed aerogel fragments C2054,4 and C2086,1 were also present in the flight aerogel witness tile that was not exposed to the comet, indicating that most amines are terrestrial in origin. The enhanced relative abundances of MA and EA in comet-exposed aerogel compared to controls, coupled with MA to EA ratios(C2054,4: 1.0 +/- 0.2; C2086,1: 1.8 +/- 0.2) that are distinct from preflight aerogels (E243-13C and E243-13F: 7 +/- 3), suggest that these volatile amines were captured from comet Wild 2. MA and EA were present predominantly in an acid-hydrolyzable bound form in the aerogel, rather than as free primary amines, which is consistent with laboratory analyses of cometary ice analog materials. It is possible that Wild 2 MA and EA were formed on energetically processed icy grains containing ammonia and approximately equal abundances of methane and ethane. The presence of cometary amines in Stardust material supports the hypothesis that comets were an important source of prebiotic organic carbon and nitrogen on the early Earth.
    • Discovery of non-random spatial distribution of impacts in the Stardust cometary collector

      Westphal, A. J.; Bastien, R. K.; Borg, J.; Bridges, J.; Brownlee, D. E.; Burchell, M. J.; Cheng, A. F.; Clark, B. C.; Djouadi, Z.; Floss, C.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      We report the discovery that impacts in the Stardust cometary collector are not distributed randomly in the collecting media, but appear to be clustered on scales smaller than ~10 cm. We also report the discovery of at least two populations of oblique tracks. We evaluate several hypotheses that could explain the observations. No hypothesis is consistent with all the observations, but the preponderance of evidence points toward at least one impact on the central Whipple shield of the spacecraft as the origin of both clustering and low-angle oblique tracks. High-angle oblique tracks unambiguously originate from a non-cometary impact on the spacecraft bus just forward of the collector.
    • Dust from comet Wild 2: Interpreting particle size, shape, structure, and composition from impact features on the Stardust aluminum foils

      Kearsley, A. T.; Borg, J.; Graham, G. A.; Burchell, M. J.; Cole, M. J.; Leroux, H.; Bridges, J. C.; Hörz, F.; Wozniakiewicz, P. J.; Bland, P. A.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Aluminum foils of the Stardust cometary dust collector are peppered with impact features of a wide range of sizes and shapes. By comparison to laboratory shots of known particle dimensions and density, using the same velocity and incidence geometry as the Stardust Wild 2 encounter, we can derive size and mass of the cometary dust grains. Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of foil samples (both flown on the mission and impacted in the laboratory) we have recognized a range of impact feature shapes from which we interpret particle density and internal structure. We have documented composition of crater residues, including stoichiometric material in 3 of 7 larger craters,by energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis. Wild 2 dust grains include coarse (>10 micrometers) mafic silicate grains, some dominated by a single mineral species of density around 34 g cm^(-3) (such as olivine). Other grains were porous, low-density aggregates from a few nanometers to 100 micrometers, with an overall density that may be lower than 1 g cm^(-3), containing mixtures of silicates and sulfides and possibly both alkali-rich and mafic glass. The mineral assemblage is very similar to the most common species reported from aerogel tracks. In one large aggregate crater, the combined diverse residue composition is similar to CI chondrites. The foils are a unique collecting substrate, revealing that the most abundant Wild 2 dust grains were of sub-micrometer size and of complex internal structure. Impact residues in Stardust foil craters will be a valuable resource for future analyses of cometary dust.
    • Identification of mineral impactors in hypervelocity impact craters in aluminum by Raman spectroscopy of residues

      Burchell, M. J.; Foster, N. J.; Kearsley, A. T.; Creighton, J. A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Here we demonstrate the use of Raman spectroscopy techniques to identify mineral particle fragments after their impact into aluminum foil at ~6 km s^(-1). Samples of six minerals (olivine, rhodonite, enstatite, diopside, wollastonite, and lizardite) were fired into aluminum foil and the resulting impact craters were studied with a HeNe laser connected to a Raman spectrometer. Raman spectra similar to those of the raw mineral grains were obtained from the craters for impacts by olivine, rhodonite, enstatite, wollastonite, and diopside, but no Raman signals were found from lizardite after impact. In general, the impactors do not survive completely intact, but are fragmented into smaller fractions that retain the structure of the original body. Combined with evidence for SEM and FIB studies, this suggests that in most cases the fragments are relatively unaltered during impact. The survival of identifiable projectile fragments after impact at ~6 km s^(-1) is thus established in general, but may not apply to all minerals. Where survival has occurred, the use of Raman spectroscopic techniques for identifying minerals after hypervelocity impacts into a metallic target is also demonstrated.
    • Origin and formation of iron silicide phases in the aerogel of the Stardust mission

      Rietmeijer, F. J. M.; Nakamura, T.; Tsuchiyama, A.; Uesugi, K.; Nakano, T.; Leroux, H. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Suessite along with hapkeite and more Fe-rich iron-silicides up to Fe7Si2 formed near the entrance of aerogel track #44. These phases are ~100 nm, quenched-melt spheres, but the post-impact cooling regime was such that melt vitrification produced a polycrystalline mixture of Fe silicides and kamacite. The compositional similarities of the impact-produced Fe-Si phases and the Fe-Ni-S phases scattered throughout the aerogel capture medium strongly supports the idea that Fe silicides resulted from a reaction between molten Fe-Ni-S phases and aerogel at very high heating and cooling rates. Temperatures of around 1500 degrees C are inferred from the observed compositions had the silicide spheres formed at thermodynamic equilibrium, which seems unlikely. When the conditions were kinetically controlled, they could have been similar to those leading to the formation of solids with predictable deep metastable eutectic compositions in laboratory condensation experiments.
    • 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.
    • Recovering the elemental composition of comet Wild 2 dust in five Stardust impact tracks and terminal particles in aerogel

      Ishii, H. A.; Brennan, S.; Bradley, J. P.; Luening, K.; Ignatyev, K.; Pianetta, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      The elemental (non-volatile) composition of five Stardust impact tracks and terminal particles left from capture of comet 81P/Wild 2 dust were mapped in a synchrotron X-ray scanning microprobe with full fluorescence spectra at each pixel. Because aerogel includes background levels of several elements of interest, we employ a novel "dual threshold" approach to discriminate against background contaminants: an upper threshold, above which a spectrum contains cometary material plus aerogel and a lower threshold below which it contains only aerogel. The difference between normalized cometary-plus-background and background-only spectra is attributable to cometary material. The few spectra in-between are discarded since misallocation is detrimental: cometary material incorrectly placed in the background spectrum is later subtracted from the cometary spectrum, doubling the loss of reportable cometary material. This approach improves accuracy of composition quantification. We present the refined whole impact track and terminal particle elemental abundances for the five impact tracks. One track shows mass increases in Cr and Mn (1.4x), Cu, As and K (2x), Zn (4x), and total mass (13%) by dual thresholds compared to a single threshold. Major elements Fe and Ni are not significantly affected. The additional Cr arises from cometary material containing little Fe. We exclude Au intermixed with cometary material because it is found to be a localized surface contaminant carried by comet dust into an impact track. The dual threshold technique can be used in other situations where elements of interest in a small sample embedded in a matrix are also present in the matrix itself.
    • Silicate minerals and Si-O glass in comet Wild 2 samples: Transmission electron microscopy

      Tomeoka, K.; Tomioka, N.; Ohnishi, I. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      A transmission electron microscope (TEM) study of seven comet Wild 2 samples shows that three samples consist mainly of olivine and pyroxene and four samples consist of Mg-Fe-bearing Si-O glass with minor amounts of Fe-Ni sulfide and metal. The olivine in the silicate-rich samples differs in fayalite content between the samples and shows a wide range of fayalite content within individual samples, indicating that the degree of thermal metamorphism on the comet, if any, was extremely low. One olivine grain has a high density of dislocations with Burgers vector b = [001], suggesting that the Wild 2 particles experienced hypervelocity impacts before capture. The structural type and composition of pyroxene differ between the samples and within individual samples. Both low-Ca and high-Ca pyroxenes are present. Enstatite occurs as ortho- and clinoenstatite, suggesting that the Wild 2 particles contain materials that went through distinct high-temperature and cooling histories. One silicate-rich sample exhibits a zone texture consisting of a core of low-Ca pyroxene surrounded by an inner rim of Mg-Fe-bearing Si-O-rich glass and an outer rim of melted aerogel. The texture suggests that the inner rim was formed by the mixing of melted cometary low-Ca pyroxene and melted aerogel during capture heating. The four Mg-Fe-bearing, Si-O glassrich samples show close similarities in mineralogy and texture to the inner rim of the zoned silicate-rich sample. The four samples are probably secondary products formed by interaction between melted cometary silicates and melted aerogel during the capture process.
    • Smelting of Fe-bearing glass during hypervelocity capture in aerogel

      Marcus, M. A.; Fakra, S.; Westphal, A. J.; Snead, C. J.; Keller, L. P.; Kearsley, A.; Burchell, M. J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      Hypervelocity capture of material in aerogel can expose particles to high transient temperatures. We tested some of the possible effects of capture by using a light-gas gun to shoot particles of basalt glass into aerogel at 6.1 km s^(-1). Using synchrotron-based micro-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (micro-XAS), we find that the starting material, in which the Fe was trivalent, is chemically reduced to divalent. In addition, some fragments were chemically reduced so that they contained Fe0 in a form spectroscopically consistent with a mixture of two forms of iron carbide (cohenite and haxonite). The carbon presumably originated from organic impurities in the aerogel. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) imaging shows the presence of Fe-rich crystalline nanoparticles. A similar species has been found in actual Stardust material, suggesting that smelting effects occurred during capture and should be taken into account when interpreting data on Stardust samples.
    • Stardust in Stardust—The C, N, and O isotopic compositions of Wild 2 cometary matter in Al foil impacts

      Stadermann, F. J.; Hoppe, P.; Floss, C.; Heck, P. R.; Hörz, F.; Huth, J.; Kearsley, A. T.; Leitner, J.; Marhas, K. K.; McKeegan, K. D.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
      In January 2006, the Stardust mission successfully returned dust samples from the tail of comet 81P/Wild 2 in two principal collection media, low-density silica aerogel and Al foil. While hypervelocity impacts at the Stardust encounter velocity of 6.1 km/s into Al foils are generally highly disruptive for natural, silicate-dominated impactors, previous studies have shown that many craters retain sufficient residue to allow a determination of the elemental and isotopic compositions of the original projectile. We have used two NanoSIMS ion microprobes to perform degrees C, N, and O isotope imaging measurements on four large (59-295 micrometers in diameter) and on 47 small (0.32-1.9 micrometers in diameter) Al-foil impact craters as part of the Stardust preliminary examination (PE). Most analyzed residues in and around these craters are isotopically normal (solar) in their degrees C, N, and O isotopic compositions. However, the debris in one large crater shows an average 15N enrichment of ~450, which is similar to the bulk composition of some isotopically primitive interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and to components of some primitive meteorites. A 250 nm grain in another large crater has an 17O enrichment with ~2.65 times the solar 17O/16O ratio. Such an O isotopic composition is typical for circumstellar oxide or silicate grains from red giant or asymptotic giant branch stars. The discovery of this circumstellar grain clearly establishes that there is authentic stardust in the cometary samples returned by the Stardust mission. However, the low apparent abundance of circumstellar grains in Wild 2 samples and the preponderance of isotopically normal material indicates that the cometary matter is a diverse assemblage of presolar and solar system materials.