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Small Particles Intact Capture Experiment (SPICE)The Small Particles Intact Capture Experiment (SPICE) will develop technologies and engineering techniques necessary to capture nearly intact, uncontaminated cosmic and interplanetary dust particles (IDP's). Successful capture of such particles will benefit the exobiology and planetary science communities by providing particulate samples that may have survived unaltered since the formation of the solar system. Characterization of these particles may contribute fundamental data to our knowledge of how these particles could have formed into our planet Earth and, perhaps, contributed to the beginnings of life. The term 'uncontaminated' means that captured cosmic and IDP particles are free of organic contamination from the capture process and the term 'nearly intact capture' means that their chemical and elemental components are not materially altered during capture. The key to capturing cosmic and IDP particles that are organic-contamination free and nearly intact is the capture medium. Initial screening of capture media included organic foams, multiple thin foil layers, and aerogel (a silica gel); but, with the exception of aerogel, the requirements of no contamination or nearly intact capture were not met. To ensure no contamination of particles in the capture process, high-purity aerogel was chosen. High-purity aerogel results in high clarity (visual clearness), a useful quality in detection and recovery of embedded captured particles from the aerogel. P. Tsou at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) originally described the use of aerogel for this purpose and reported laboratory test results. He has flown aerogel as a 'GAS-can Lid' payload on STS-47 and is evaluating the results. The Timeband Capture Cell Experiment (TICCE), a Eureca 1 experiment, is also flying aerogel and is scheduled for recovery in late April.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Nishioka, Ken-Ji
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Carle, G. C.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Bunch, T. E.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Mendez, David J.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Ryder, J. T.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, 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
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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