Special Reports

Impact Features on Stardust: Implications for Comet 81P/Wild 2 Dust

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Science  15 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5806, pp. 1716-1719
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135705

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Particles emanating from comet 81P/Wild 2 collided with the Stardust spacecraft at 6.1 kilometers per second, producing hypervelocity impact features on the collector surfaces that were returned to Earth. The morphologies of these surprisingly diverse features were created by particles varying from dense mineral grains to loosely bound, polymineralic aggregates ranging from tens of nanometers to hundreds of micrometers in size. The cumulative size distribution of Wild 2 dust is shallower than that of comet Halley, yet steeper than that of comet Grigg-Skjellerup.

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