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Constraints on the Parent Bodies of Collected Interplanetary Dust Particles

  • S. A. Sandford (a1)

Abstract

Samples of interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) have now been collected from the stratosphere, from the Earth’s ocean beds, and from the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica The most likely candidates for the sources of these particles are comets and asteroids. Comparison of the infrared spectra, elemental compositions, and mineralogy of the collected dust with atmospheric entry models and data obtained from cometary probes and telescopic observations has provided important constraints on the possible sources of the various types of collected dust. These constraints lead to the following conclusions. First, most of the deep sea, Greenland, and Antarctic spherules larger than 100 μm are derived from asteroids. Second, the stratospheric IDPs dominated by hydrated layer-lattice silicate minerals are also most likely derived from asteroids. Finally, the stratospheric IDPs dominated by the anhydrous minerals olivine and pyroxene are most likely from comets. The consequences of these parent body assignments are discussed.

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References

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