A TEM study of four particles extracted from the Stardust track 80

  • Stodolna J
  • Jacob D
  • Leroux H
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Four particles extracted from track 80 at different penetration depths have been studied by analytical transmission electron microscopy (ATEM). Regardless of their positions within the track, the samples present a comparable microstructure made of a silica rich glassy matrix embedding a large number of small Fe-Ni-S inclusions and vesicles. This microstructure is typical of strongly thermally modified particles that were heated and melted during the hypervelocity impact into the aerogel. X-ray intensity maps show that the particles were made of Mg-rich silicates (typically 200 nm in diameter) cemented by a fine-grained matrix enriched in iron sulfide. Bulk compositions of the four particles suggest that the captured dust particle was an aggregate of grains with various iron sulfide fraction and that no extending chemical mixing in the bulb occurred during the deceleration. The bulk S/Fe ratios of the four samples are close to CI and far from the chondritic meteorites from the asteroidal belt, suggesting that the studied particles are compatible with chondritic-porous interplanetary dust particles or with material coming from a large heliocentric distance for escaping the S depletion.

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  • Julien Stodolna

  • Damien Jacob

  • Hugues Leroux

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