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Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination VII: Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis of six Stardust interstellar candidates measured with the Advanced Photon Source 2-ID-D microprobe

Abstract : The NASA Stardust spacecraft exposed an aerogel collector to the interstellar dust passing through the solar system. We performed X-ray fluorescence element mapping and abundance measurements, for elements 19 <= Z <= 30, on six "interstellar candidates," potential interstellar impacts identified by Stardust@Home and extracted for analyses in picokeystones. One, I1044,3,33, showed no element hot-spots within the designated search area. However, we identified a nearby surface feature, consistent with the impact of a weak, high-speed particle having an approximately chondritic (CI) element abundance pattern, except for factor-of-ten enrichments in K and Zn and an S depletion. This hot-spot, containing approximately 10 fg of Fe, corresponds to an approximately 350 nm chondritic particle, small enough to be missed by Stardust@Home, indicating that other techniques may be necessary to identify all interstellar candidates. Only one interstellar candidate, I1004,1,2, showed a track. The terminal particle has large enrichments in S, Ti, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, and Zn relative to Fe-normalized CI values. It has high Al/Fe, but does not match the Ni/Fe range measured for samples of Al-deck material from the Stardust sample return capsule, which was within the field-of-view of the interstellar collector. A third interstellar candidate, I1075,1,25, showed an Al-rich surface feature that has a composition generally consistent with the Al-deck material, suggesting that it is a secondary particle. The other three interstellar candidates, I1001,1,16, I1001,2,17, and I1044,2,32, showed no impact features or tracks, but allowed assessment of submicron contamination in this aerogel, including Fe hot-spots having CI-like Ni/Fe ratios, complicating the search for CI-like interstellar/interplanetary dust.
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https://hal-univ-lyon1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02351156
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 12:12:27 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 2:20:02 PM

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George J. Flynn, Steven R. Sutton, Barry Lai, Sue Wirick, Carlton Allen, et al.. Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination VII: Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis of six Stardust interstellar candidates measured with the Advanced Photon Source 2-ID-D microprobe. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Wiley, 2014, 49 (9), pp.1626--1644. ⟨10.1111/maps.12144⟩. ⟨hal-02351156⟩

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