[meteorite-list] Stardust Update - February 21, 2006

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Feb 21 14:42:05 2006
Message-ID: <200602211940.k1LJeGl03429_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Stardust Status Report
February 21, 2006

Dr. Peter Tsou
Stardust Deputy Principal Investigator

Happy Valentine's from Stardust!

Heart-shaped comet particle extracted from aerogel

As part of the first Sample Processing Cycle, the keystone of the first
released particle was taken to the National Synchrotron Light Source at
Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and examined by the far-IR
beam. The particle was shown to be definitely a cometary mineral and not
secondary debris. As part of the second Sample Processing Cycle, the
terminal particle - the particle at the end of the tract - was removed
from the keystone for further analyses on Valentine's Day. To our
surprise, we found the particle to be heart-shaped! Happy Valentine's to
the world from Stardust! I have been assured that this is the real shape
of the particle!

This particle will be embedded in sulfur first with few wafers removed
for mineralogy and petrology studies, and then the remainder of the
particle will be pressed into Au foil for isotopic studies.

During the second Sample Processing Cycle, we removed four additional Wild
2 aerogel cells with relative ease, after having made some adjustments
learned from the first Cycle. All four cells are being scanned by the
binocular microscope as well as the compound microscope to capture more
of the smaller particle tracks. More keystones, quickstones and
mircrotomes slides are being made to supply the eagerly awaiting
analysts around the world. We have also taken a sample from the largest
capture tract without removing the cell from the Wild 2 tray, to provide
definitive proof that the largest particles are from Wild 2 and are not
secondary debris.
Received on Tue 21 Feb 2006 02:40:16 PM PST

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