Dec
15
2006

Comet creation: New analysis shows hot stuff on the surface

Hot comet: Results of research from the Stardust comet particle retrieval mission are showing that the surface of comet Wild2 is composed of materials from the inner portions of our solar system. It used to be believed that comets were composed of matter from the outer regions of our solar system.
Hot comet: Results of research from the Stardust comet particle retrieval mission are showing that the surface of comet Wild2 is composed of materials from the inner portions of our solar system. It used to be believed that comets were composed of matter from the outer regions of our solar system.
What makes up a comet?

Scientists are starting to find out as they dig into the samples of a comet collected through the recent Stardust space mission. And they’re finding out that a comet is made up a of lot more than space’s intergalactic dust bunnies, which used to be the original concept of comet formation..

Testing on the samples from the Comet Wild2 are showing that it is made up of hot particles from the inner solar system that drifted out to the colder ranges of the our solar system around Pluto’s orbit. Prior to these finding, astronomers thought that comets were made up from tiny, cold space particles from regions of space further out of our solar system that were drifting into our system.

After doing the recent tests on Wild2’s comet dust, researchers are now estimated that around ten percent of a comet’s make up could have come from our inner solar system near the sun. How those particles have ended up as part of a comet are still a mystery to researchers, however. It may be the result of the chaotic activity at the forming of the solar system when “hot” inner solar systems were blasted out into the outer reaches of space.

And scientists are finding out that not all comets are created equal. Dust from Wild2 is very different from that of Tempel1, which was studied by NASA’s Deep Impact mission. On that mission, NASA last July crashed a probe into a comet and analyzed the dust and ice that spewed out from the crash. No surface materials were analyzed.

With Wild2, the Stardust mission sent a capsule around the sun and then swooping past Wild2 to scrape up thousands of tiny samples of comet surface materials. That capsule returned to Earth in January for scientists to begin analyzing the make up of the comet’s surface.

Some of the minerals found in the Wild2 dust are “high-temperature” minerals that were likely formed in the hottest portions of our solar system.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

fascinating

posted on Sun, 12/17/2006 - 5:32pm
McFlirry's picture
McFlirry says:

nice article

posted on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 5:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

kinda off...........

posted on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 5:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is great info thanks bunches it helped my macho on my resurch

posted on Tue, 05/15/2007 - 12:56pm

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