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NAM2012 - All Presentation Details

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The Stardust Mission to Comet Wild2 Gives a New Perspective on the Formation of Comets

Author: John Bridges

University of Leicester


Session: PL1: Small bodies in Our Solar System

Presentation type: Talk      17:59  Tuesday 27th 17:00-18:15 


The Stardust mission successfully returned samples from the Jupiter family Comet 81P/Wild2 in 2006. Since then much progress has been made in analysing the challenging, micron-sized samples. Through transmission electron microscopy and X-ray Absorption at the Diamond synchrotron we have established the presence of fragments of high temperature (>1200 K), Al-rich melt droplets – chondrules. This information is helping to test models of the Solar System which need to account for the presence of such high temperature, chemically processed material in the comet-forming region. We have also identified the effects of space weathering by the presence of Fe metal-bearing assemblages. As we gain more information about Comet Wild2 our ideas on the origins of comets and the early Solar System are changing.

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