Special Reports

Elemental Compositions of Comet 81P/Wild 2 Samples Collected by Stardust

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Science  15 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5806, pp. 1731-1735
DOI: 10.1126/science.1136141

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We measured the elemental compositions of material from 23 particles in aerogel and from residue in seven craters in aluminum foil that was collected during passage of the Stardust spacecraft through the coma of comet 81P/Wild 2. These particles are chemically heterogeneous at the largest size scale analyzed (∼180 ng). The mean elemental composition of this Wild 2 material is consistent with the CI meteorite composition, which is thought to represent the bulk composition of the solar system, for the elements Mg, Si, Mn, Fe, and Ni to 35%, and for Ca and Ti to 60%. The elements Cu, Zn, and Ga appear enriched in this Wild 2 material, which suggests that the CI meteorites may not represent the solar system composition for these moderately volatile minor elements.

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