Report - Mineralogy and petrology of comet 81P/Wild 2 nucleus samples

Zolensky, M. E.; Zega, T. J.; Yano, H.; Wirick, S.; Westphal, A. J.; Weisberg, M. K.; Weber, I.; Warren, J. L.; Velbel, M. A.; Tsuchiyama, A.; Tsou, P.; Toppani, A.; Tomioka, N.; Tomeoka, K.; Teslich, N.; Taheri, M.; Susini, J.; Stroud, R.; Stephan, T.; Stadermann, F. J.; Snead, C. J.; Simon, S. B.; Simionovici, A.; See, T. H.; Robert, F.; Rietmeijer, F. J. M.; Rao, W.; Perronnet, M. C.; Papanastassiou, D. A.; Okudaira, K.; Ohsumi, K.; Ohnishi, I.; Nakamura-Messenger, K.; Nakamura, T.; Mostefaoui, S.; Mikouchi, T.; Meibom, A.; Matrajt, G.; Marcus, M. A.; Leroux, H.; Lemelle, L.; Le, L.; Lanzirotti, A.; Langenhorst, F.; Krot, A. N.; Keller, L. P.; Kearsley, A. T.; Joswiak, D.; Jacob, D.; Ishii, H.; Harvey, R.; Hagiya, K.; Grossman, L.; Grossman, J. N.; Graham, G. A.; Gounelle, M.; Gillet, P.; Genge, M. J.; Flynn, G.; Ferroir, T.; Fallon, S.; Ebel, D. S.; Dai, Z. R.; Cordier, P.; Clark, B.; Chi, M. F.; Butterworth, A. L.; Brownlee, D. E.; Bridges, J. C.; Brennan, S.; Brearley, A.; Bradley, J. P.; Bleuet, P.; Bland, P. A. and Bastien, R. (2006). Report - Mineralogy and petrology of comet 81P/Wild 2 nucleus samples. Science, 314(5806) pp. 1735–1739.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1135842

Abstract

The bulk of the comet 81P/Wild 2 ( hereafter Wild 2) samples returned to Earth by the Stardust spacecraft appear to be weakly constructed mixtures of nanometer-scale grains, with occasional much larger ( over 1 micrometer) ferromagnesian silicates, Fe-Ni sulfides, Fe-Ni metal, and accessory phases. The very wide range of olivine and low-Ca pyroxene compositions in comet Wild 2 requires a wide range of formation conditions, probably reflecting very different formation locations in the protoplanetary disk. The restricted compositional ranges of Fe-Ni sulfides, the wide range for silicates, and the absence of hydrous phases indicate that comet Wild 2 experienced little or no aqueous alteration. Less abundant Wild 2 materials include a refractory particle, whose presence appears to require radial transport in the early protoplanetary disk.

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