Special Reports

Dust Measurements in the Coma of Comet 81P/Wild 2 by the Dust Flux Monitor Instrument

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Science  18 Jun 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5678, pp. 1776-1780
DOI: 10.1126/science.1098759

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Abstract

We present measurements of the dust particle flux and mass distribution from the Stardust Dust Flux Monitor Instrument (DFMI) throughout the flyby of comet 81P/Wild 2. In the particle mass regime from 10–14 to 10–7 kilograms, the spacecraft encountered regions of intense swarms of particles, together with bursts of activity corresponding to clouds of particles only a few hundred meters across. This fine-scale structure can be explained by particle fragmentation. We estimate that 2800 ± 500 particles of diameter 15 micrometers or larger impacted the aerogel collectors, the largest being ∼6 × 10–7 kilograms, which dominates the total collected mass.

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