A UK consortium of researchers from the University of Leicester, Natural History Museum, Kent University, Glasgow University and Open University have been studying the cometary samples which were delivered a few weeks after the samples were returned to Earth. The interstellar dust particles are about ten nanometres across (one hundred thousandth of a millimetre) and they are even smaller than many of the particles that Stardust collected when it flew through the coma of Comet Wild 2.
In a presentation at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Preston on 18th April, Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester will describe how techniques developed to analyse material from the comet's tail will be used to study the interstellar particles. A focussed beam of electrically charged particles will be used to extract the residue of the dust from the craters. Once the material is no longer shielded by the crater walls, it can be examined using a transmission electron microscope.
"The interstellar dust particles collected by Stardust are so tiny that they pose huge analytical challenges," said Dr Bridges. "Having spent the time perfecting our techniques and analysing Comet Wild 2, we are very excited by the prospect of these samples. Our analysis of samples from the comet's tail revealed that its composition was more complex than we'd thought and indicated an unexpected mixing of refractory and volatile material in the early Solar System. The interstellar particles will take us one step farther back and allow us to look at the composition of the dust cloud from which the Solar System formed."
The Stardust mission spent 4 months collecting interstellar dust during its 2.88 million mile journey to Comet Wild-2 and back to Earth. The return capsule, containing the dust and samples from the comet's tail, landed in the desert in Utah in January 2006. Since then, samples have been distributed to selected researchers around the world.
The Stardust Mission
Stardust, a project under NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, highly focused science missions, was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, Colorado, and is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The mission's Principal Investigator is Dr. Donald Brownlee of the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. UK involvement is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
More information on the Stardust mission is available at http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html.
Anita Heward | alfa
Two dimensional circuit with magnetic quasi-particles
22.01.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.01.2018 | Life Sciences