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Cometary dust: A thermal criterion to identify cometary samples among the collected interplanetary dustThe relative proportions of the cometary and the asteroidal contributions to the interplanetary dust have not yet been definitively established. These proportions may vary with time as a result of major catastrophic disruptions in the main belt or the appearance of fresh, active comets. Dermott et al. and Reach suggest the debris from catastrophic collisions in the main belt can account for most of the zodiacal cloud particles. Earth collection of these asteroidal particles is strongly favored by near-Earth gravitational enhancement. However, comets are observed to produce interplanetary dust particles (IDP's), and the identification of cometary IDP's would allow inferences of the compositions, mineralogies, and physical properties of the comets. The peak temperatures reached by IDP's on atmospheric entry indicate the distribution of IDP velocities. Each IDP contains many internal thermometers: minerals that transform above certain temperatures, volatile elements that are lost sequentially with increasing temperatures, solar flare tracks that anneal at different temperatures in different minerals, and solar-implanted noble gases that outgas progressively with temperature. Thus, limits on the peak temperature reached by each IDP on Earth atmospheric entry can be set. Other aspects of this investigation are covered.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Flynn, George J. (State Univ. of New York Plattsburgh, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on the Analysis of Interplanetary Dust Particles
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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