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Science. 2006 Dec 15;314(5806):1724-8.

Isotopic compositions of cometary matter returned by Stardust.

Author information

  • 1Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567, USA. mckeegan@ess.ucla.edu

Abstract

Hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopic compositions are heterogeneous among comet 81P/Wild 2 particle fragments; however, extreme isotopic anomalies are rare, indicating that the comet is not a pristine aggregate of presolar materials. Nonterrestrial nitrogen and neon isotope ratios suggest that indigenous organic matter and highly volatile materials were successfully collected. Except for a single (17)O-enriched circumstellar stardust grain, silicate and oxide minerals have oxygen isotopic compositions consistent with solar system origin. One refractory grain is (16)O-enriched, like refractory inclusions in meteorites, suggesting that Wild 2 contains material formed at high temperature in the inner solar system and transported to the Kuiper belt before comet accretion.

PMID:
17170292
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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