New Paper on Stardust fine grained material

Our consortium on Stardust material has published a new article about primitive fine-grained materials found in comet dust. The paper, titled “Fine-grained material associated with a large sulfide returned from Comet 81P/Wild 2” (primary author Zack Gainsforth), takes a look at a large particle called Andromeda, and how it shielded this delicate material upon aerogel capture.

The paper can be found at:, or you can download the PDF here.


In a consortium analysis of a large particle captured from the coma of comet 81P/Wild 2 by the Stardust spacecraft, we report the discovery of a field of fine‐grained material (FGM) in contact with a large sulfide particle. The FGM was partially located in an embayment in the sulfide. As a consequence, some of the FGM appears to have been protected from damage during hypervelocity capture in aerogel. Some of the FGM particles are indistinguishable in their characteristics from common components of chondritic‐porous interplanetary dust particles, including glass with embedded metals and sulfides and equilibrated aggregates. The sulfide exhibits surprising Ni‐rich lamellae, which may indicate that this particle experienced a long‐duration heating event after its formation but before incorporation into Wild 2.

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 12.07.33 PM
Images from transmission electron microscopy, and false-colored X-ray maps to show chemical composition.  The left side of the particle is a large Fe,Ni-sulfide grain, and the right side contains many fine-grained particles. Arrows point to features discussed in the manuscript.

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