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Article Dans Une Revue Meteoritics and Planetary Science Année : 2013

Fine-grained material encased in microtracks of Stardust samples


Dust from comet 81P/Wild 2 was captured at high speed in silica aerogel collectors during the Stardust mission. Studies of deceleration tracks in aerogel showed that a number of cometary particles were poorly cohesive and fragmented during impact. Fragments are now scattered along the walls of impact cavities. Here, we report a transmission electron microscope study of a piece of aerogel extracted from the wall of track 10. We focused on micron‐sized secondary tracks along which fragments of a fine‐grained material are disseminated. Two populations of fragments were identified. The first is made of polycrystalline silicate assemblages (olivine, pyroxene, and spinel) that appear to be chemically related to each other. The second corresponds to silica‐rich glassy clumps characteristic of a mixture of melted cometary material and aerogel. A significant number of fragments have been found with a composition close to chondritic CI for the major elements Fe‐Mg‐S at a submicron scale. These fragments have thus never been chemically differentiated by high‐temperature processes prior to the accretion on the comet, in contrast to terminal particles, which are dominated by larger, denser, and frequently monomineralic components.

Dates et versions

hal-03138488 , version 1 (11-02-2021)



Hugues Leroux, Damien Jacob. Fine-grained material encased in microtracks of Stardust samples. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 2013, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 48, pp.1607-1617. ⟨10.1111/maps.12185⟩. ⟨hal-03138488⟩
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