[meteorite-list] Stardust Update - February 7, 2006

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed Feb 8 18:43:37 2006
Message-ID: <200602082341.k18NfuU09585_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Stardust Status Report
February 7, 2006

Dr. Peter Tsou
Stardust Deputy Principal Investigator

It has been 3 weeks since landing!

Based upon an initial X-Ray Tomography (XT) examination of the
quickstone - a particle track removed from an aerogel fragment with an
ultrasonic blade - the bifurcated track (2 tracks as shown in Photo 1)
is now determined to be "pentafurcated" (5 tracks) since three more
smaller tracks have been identified. With the XT, we will have a solid
digital model of the quickstone and be able to view the entire track
from all directions on a computer screen. This is especially important
in identifying sizes of grains scattered along the track (down to 0.1
microns) and their precise locations.

On January 19th, 2006, we released the first picture of a particle
(shown in Photo 2) taken in situ of the aerogel. We have now made a
keystone of the track (shown in Photo 3). The particle and its track
removed from an aerogel fragment with an automated keystone system. This
keystone can now be conveniently transported and placed into various
analytical instruments to study its properties.

The Preliminary Examination Team will be gathered in the Stardust
Cleanroom on February 9 to begin the second cell extraction cycle. The
Team has looked at some of the removed small particles and found the
entry fragments are melted more so than the particles further down the
track. This was as expected. The Team will remove some of the larger
particles to determine how well the grains had survived. The Team will
also remove a few grains from the largest tracks to determine their


Photo 1: Aerogel slice removed with an ultrasonic blade, showing
particle tracks.

Photo 2: Comet particle in aerogel.

Photo 3: A "keystone" cut of aerogel showing particle and track.
Received on Wed 08 Feb 2006 06:41:56 PM PST

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