Characterizing Comet Wild 2: Investigating Foils from NASA's Stardust Mission

Brendan Haas, Department of Physics, Washington University
September 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm
204 Crow
Event Description 

Cometary materials are exceedingly rare and difficult to study, but they provide us with a unique view into the early solar system and its distant objects. NASA's Stardust mission returned to Earth in 2006 with material from comet Wild 2 embedded in aluminum foils. However, this material was extremely small and heavily altered during the collection process, making it extraordinarily difficult to study. Through the tandem study of laboratory-made analog foils and the actual foils returned from the Stardust mission, we attempt to characterize comet Wild 2 and the only unambigiously cometary material available on Earth.