Reports Refractory Interplanetary Dust Particles

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Science  18 Sep 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4821, pp. 1466-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.237.4821.1466


Criteria are described by which refractory interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) can be differentiated from the products of spacecraft debris. These criteria have been used to discover and characterize IDPs that are composed predominantly of refractory phases. Two of these particles contain hibonite, perovskite, spinel, refractory glass, and a melilite; only hibonite was identified within a third. The grain size for all particles ranges from 0.05 to 1 micrometer, so that they are much finer grained than the refractory calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions in meteorites. The glass-containing refractory IDPs may be primitive nebular condensates that never completely crystallized and thus have been preserved extant.