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Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination V: XRF analyses of interstellar dust candidates at ESRF ID13

Abstract : Here, we report analyses by synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy of the elemental composition of eight candidate impact features extracted from the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC). Six of the features were unambiguous tracks, and two were crater-like features. Five of the tracks are so-called "midnight" tracksthat is, they had trajectories consistent with an origin either in the interstellar dust stream or as secondaries from impacts on the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). In a companion paper reporting synchrotron X-ray diffraction analyses of ISPE candidates, we show that two of these particles contain natural crystalline materials: the terminal particle of track 30 contains olivine and spinel, and the terminal particle of track 34 contains olivine. Here, we show that the terminal particle of track 30, Orion, shows elemental abundances, normalized to Fe, that are close to CI values, and a complex, fine-grained structure. The terminal particle of track 34, Hylabrook, shows abundances that deviate strongly from CI, but shows little fine structure and is nearly homogenous. The terminal particles of other midnight tracks, 29 and 37, had heavy element abundances below detection threshold. A third, track 28, showed a composition inconsistent with an extraterrestrial origin, but also inconsistent with known spacecraft materials. A sixth track, with a trajectory consistent with secondary ejecta from an impact on one of the spacecraft solar panels, contains abundant Ce and Zn. This is consistent with the known composition of the glass covering the solar panel. Neither crater-like feature is likely to be associated with extraterrestrial materials. We also analyzed blank aerogel samples to characterize background and variability between aerogel tiles. We found significant differences in contamination levels and compositions, emphasizing the need for local background subtraction for accurate quantification.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 11:40:42 AM
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Frank E. Brenker, Andrew J. Westphal, Laszlo Vincze, Manfred Burghammer, Sylvia Schmitz, et al.. Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination V: XRF analyses of interstellar dust candidates at ESRF ID13. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Wiley, 2014, 23 (9), pp.1594--1611. ⟨10.1111/maps.12206⟩. ⟨hal-02351075⟩



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