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Title: Evidence for Reduced, Carbon-rich Regions in the Solar Nebula from an Unusual Cometary Dust Particle

Abstract

Geochemical indicators in meteorites suggest that most formed under relatively oxidizing conditions. However, some planetary materials, such as the enstatite chondrites, aubrite achondrites, and Mercury, were produced in reduced nebular environments. Because of large-scale radial nebular mixing, comets and other Kuiper Belt objects likely contain some primitive material related to these reduced planetary bodies. In this work, we describe an unusual assemblage in a dust particle from comet 81P/Wild 2 captured in silica aerogel by the NASA Stardust spacecraft. The bulk of this ~20 μm particle is comprised of an aggregate of nanoparticulate Cr-rich magnetite, containing opaque sub-domains composed of poorly graphitized carbon (PGC). The PGC forms conformal shells around tiny 5-15 nm core grains of Fe carbide. The C, N, and O isotopic compositions of these components are identical within errors to terrestrial standards, indicating a formation inside the solar system. Magnetite compositions are consistent with oxidation of reduced metal, similar to that seen in enstatite chondrites. Similarly, the core-shell structure of the carbide + PGC inclusions suggests a formation via FTT reactions on the surface of metal or carbide grains in warm, reduced regions of the solar nebula. Together, the nanoscale assemblage in the cometary particle is mostmore » consistent with the alteration of primary solids condensed from a C-rich, reduced nebular gas. The nanoparticulate components in the cometary particle provide the first direct evidence from comets of reduced, carbon-rich regions that were present in the solar nebula.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]
  1. Naval Research Lab. (NRL), Washington, DC (United States)
  2. Carnegie Inst. of Washington, Washington, DC (United States)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1530303
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 848; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; astrochemistry; comets: individual (81P&Wild 2)

Citation Formats

De Gregorio, Bradley T., Stroud, Rhonda M., Nittler, Larry R., and Kilcoyne, A. L. David. Evidence for Reduced, Carbon-rich Regions in the Solar Nebula from an Unusual Cometary Dust Particle. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa8c07.
De Gregorio, Bradley T., Stroud, Rhonda M., Nittler, Larry R., & Kilcoyne, A. L. David. Evidence for Reduced, Carbon-rich Regions in the Solar Nebula from an Unusual Cometary Dust Particle. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa8c07.
De Gregorio, Bradley T., Stroud, Rhonda M., Nittler, Larry R., and Kilcoyne, A. L. David. Tue . "Evidence for Reduced, Carbon-rich Regions in the Solar Nebula from an Unusual Cometary Dust Particle". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa8c07. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1530303.
@article{osti_1530303,
title = {Evidence for Reduced, Carbon-rich Regions in the Solar Nebula from an Unusual Cometary Dust Particle},
author = {De Gregorio, Bradley T. and Stroud, Rhonda M. and Nittler, Larry R. and Kilcoyne, A. L. David},
abstractNote = {Geochemical indicators in meteorites suggest that most formed under relatively oxidizing conditions. However, some planetary materials, such as the enstatite chondrites, aubrite achondrites, and Mercury, were produced in reduced nebular environments. Because of large-scale radial nebular mixing, comets and other Kuiper Belt objects likely contain some primitive material related to these reduced planetary bodies. In this work, we describe an unusual assemblage in a dust particle from comet 81P/Wild 2 captured in silica aerogel by the NASA Stardust spacecraft. The bulk of this ~20 μm particle is comprised of an aggregate of nanoparticulate Cr-rich magnetite, containing opaque sub-domains composed of poorly graphitized carbon (PGC). The PGC forms conformal shells around tiny 5-15 nm core grains of Fe carbide. The C, N, and O isotopic compositions of these components are identical within errors to terrestrial standards, indicating a formation inside the solar system. Magnetite compositions are consistent with oxidation of reduced metal, similar to that seen in enstatite chondrites. Similarly, the core-shell structure of the carbide + PGC inclusions suggests a formation via FTT reactions on the surface of metal or carbide grains in warm, reduced regions of the solar nebula. Together, the nanoscale assemblage in the cometary particle is most consistent with the alteration of primary solids condensed from a C-rich, reduced nebular gas. The nanoparticulate components in the cometary particle provide the first direct evidence from comets of reduced, carbon-rich regions that were present in the solar nebula.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/aa8c07},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 2,
volume = 848,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: (a) Aerogel wafer cross-section of Stardust Track 183, including terminal particle #3. (b) Particle C2103,24,183,1,0 embedded in S after ultramicrotome sectioning (“potted butt”) under dark-field reflected light illumination. Several opaque inclusions are visible in the particle.

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