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




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















UK Scientists Sift Superfine Stardust

Residue-bearing crater from a Stardust Foil. Credit: JPL/Unis. of Leicester, Kent, Glasgow, Open University and Natural History Museum
by Staff Writers
Leicester UK (SPX) Apr 19, 2007
UK scientists are preparing to analyse miniscule impact craters collected by NASA's Stardust mission as it flew through interstellar dust streams. These craters contain the residues of the dust particles that are the seeds of our own Solar System.

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.

Email This Article

Related Links
Stardust
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It



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


Dark Matter Charted Out To Five Billion Light Years
London UK (SPX) Apr 19, 2007
Most of the matter in the Universe is not the ordinary kind made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, but an elusive "dark matter" detectable only from its gravity. Like a tenuous gas, dark matter is all around us - it goes through us all the time without us noticing - but tends to collect in large quantities around galaxies and clusters of galaxies and makes up about one-sixth of the mass of the Universe.







  • Building Shields For Your Starship
  • Earth Magnetic Field A Hazard For Lunar Astronauts
  • Facing Tanning Booth Cancer Risk
  • Merlin Secures NASA SEWP IV Contract With Potential Value Of Over USD 5 Billion

  • Dust Devils Whip By Spirit
  • Investigating The Dark Streak Of Victoria Crater
  • A Close Up Look At Martian Rocks From The Comfort Of Your Couch
  • Through A Telescope Darkly

  • Russia Puts 16 Foreign Satellites Into Orbit
  • Indian Space Agency Set For First Commercial Launch Of Foreign Satellite
  • Russia To Launch Four US Satellites In May
  • PSLV-C8 To Be Launched On April 23

  • Scientists Meet To Review Envisat Results After Five Years Of Operations
  • US Uses Landsat Satellite Data To Fight Hunger And Poverty
  • NOAA And NASA Restore Climate Sensor To Upcoming NPP Satellite
  • High-Resolution Images Herald New Era In Earth Sciences

  • Rosetta And New Horizons Watch Jupiter In Joint Campaign
  • New Horizons Shows Off Its Color Camera In Io Image
  • Alice Views Jupiter And Io
  • A Look From LEISA

  • UK Scientists Sift Superfine Stardust
  • Dark Matter Charted Out To Five Billion Light Years
  • A New Class Of Interstellar Lighthouse
  • Astronomers Map Out Planetary Danger Zone

  • Rochester Triumphs In NASA Great Moonbuggy Race
  • Shanghai Vies To Win Battle Of Moon Rovers
  • A Piggyback Solution For Science Versus Exploration
  • Assembling Of Moon Mission Spacecraft Begins

  • Boeing-Led Team Developing Surface Navigation Concept For DARPA
  • China Launches Compass Navigation Satellite
  • Northrop Grumman Team OCX Bids On The GPS Next Generation Control Segment Contract
  • GPS Significantly Impacted By Powerful Solar Radio Burst

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights 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 SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement