Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Comet Dust Reveals Unexpected Mixing Of Solar System
by Staff Writers
Madison WI (SPX) Sep 19, 2008


The Stardust mission captured Wild 2 dust in hopes of characterizing the raw materials from which our solar system coalesced. Desktops available :: 1024x768 :: 1024x768

Chemical clues from a comet's halo are challenging common views about the history and evolution of the solar system and showing it may be more mixed-up than previously thought.

A new analysis of dust from the comet Wild 2, collected in 2004 by NASA's Stardust mission, has revealed an oxygen isotope signature that suggests an unexpected mingling of rocky material between the center and edges of the solar system.

Despite the comet's birth in the icy reaches of outer space beyond Pluto, tiny crystals collected from its halo appear to have been forged in the hotter interior, much closer to the sun.

The result, reported in journal Science by researchers from Japan, NASA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, counters the idea that the material that formed the solar system billions of years ago has remained trapped in orbits around the sun.

Instead, the new study suggests that cosmic material from asteroid belts between Mars and Jupiter can migrate outward in the solar system and mix with the more primitive materials found at the fringes.

"Observations from this sample are changing our previous thinking and expectations about how the solar system formed," says UW-Madison geologist Noriko Kita, an author of the paper.

The Stardust mission captured Wild 2 dust in hopes of characterizing the raw materials from which our solar system coalesced. Since the comet formed more than 4 billion years ago from the same primitive source materials, its current orbit between Mars and Jupiter affords a rare opportunity to sample material from the farthest reaches of the solar system and dating back to the early days of the universe.

These samples, which reached Earth in early 2006, are the first solid samples returned from space since Apollo.

"They were originally hoping to find the raw material that pre-dated the solar system," explains Kita. "However, we found many crystalline objects that resemble flash-heated particles found in meteorites from asteroids."

In the new study, scientists led by Tomoki Nakamura, a professor at Kyushu University in Japan, analyzed oxygen isotope compositions of three crystals from the comet's halo to better understand their origins.

He and UW-Madison scientist Takayuki Ushikubo analyzed the tiny grains - the largest of which is about one-thousandth of an inch across - with a unique ion microprobe in the Wisconsin Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (Wisc-SIMS) laboratory, the most advanced instrument of its kind in the world.

To their surprise, they found oxygen isotope ratios in the comet crystals that are similar to asteroids and even the sun itself. Since these samples more closely resemble meteorites than the primitive, low-temperature materials expected in the outer reaches of the solar system, their analysis suggests that heat-processed particles may have been transported outward in the young solar system.

"This really complicates our simple view of the early solar system," says Michael Zolensky, a NASA cosmic mineralogist at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"Even though the comet itself came from way out past Pluto, there's a much more complicated history of migration patterns within the solar system and the material originally may have formed much closer to Earth," says UW-Madison geology professor John Valley. "These findings are causing a revision of theories of the history of the solar system."

The research was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the NASA Stardust Sample Analysis and Cosmochemistry Programs. The Wisc-SIMS facility is partly supported by the National Science Foundation.

.


Related Links
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Galaxy Silhouettes
Baltimore MD (SPX) Sep 17, 2008
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a rare alignment between two spiral galaxies. The outer rim of a small, foreground galaxy is silhouetted in front of a larger background galaxy. Skeletal tentacles of dust can be seen extending beyond the small galaxy's disk of starlight. Such outer dark dusty structures, which appear to be devoid of stars, like barren branches, are rarely so ... read more


STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Science By The Light Of The Moon

Chang'e-1 Sends Back Verbal Wishes

Russian Water Detector To Ride Piggyback On U.S. Lunar Orbiter

Robot Scout Will Test New Lunar Landing Techniques For Future Explorers

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
HiRISE Provides Detail Of Mars Terrain That Tantalizes Explorers

Surface Water May Have Existed Far Longer On Some Parts Of Mars

NASA Selects CU-Boulder To Lead Mars Mission

More Soil Delivered To Phoenix Lab

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Johnson space center to reopen next week: NASA

Building A New Rocket For The Nation

Actel Launches Flash-Based FPGAs Into Space

US astronaut promotes Mexican space agency

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Opening The Window For Shenzhou 7

Fighter pilot to be China's first space walker: govt

China's Second Generation Of Astronauts Draws Concern At Home And Abroad

Short Flight For Shenzhou 7

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Resupply spacecraft docks with International Space Station

Hurricane Ike's impact felt at International Space Station: NASA

Russia To Launch Progress M-65 Space Freighter To ISS

Russia's Progress Spacecraft Buried In Pacific Ocean

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Orbital Completes Minotaur IV Launch Vehicle Pathfinder Operations

Proton Launch Of Nimiq 4 Satellite Postponed

New Impulse To Russian Rockets

Sea Launch Prepares For The Launch Of Galaxy 19

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
TNO Star Separators Help ESO With Detection Of Exoplanets

First Picture Of Likely Planet Around Sun-Like Star

VLT Instrument Hints At The Presence Of Planets In Young Gas Discs

NASA Carl Sagan Fellows To Study Extraterrestrial Worlds

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
LockMart Demos New Radiator Tech For TSAT Program

NASA Uses Commercial Microgravity Flight Services For First Time

Australian company launches 3D Internet tool

Objectivity Database Used To Build Comprehensive Space Object Catalog




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement