Feeds

Stardust finds comets are born of fire and ice

A space oddity

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Surprising data from NASA's Stardust programme has revealed that comets have heat-formed components.

Scientists analysing samples from the seven-year mission to collect material from the tail of comet Wild 2 found glassy particles that must have been formed at high temperatures. Stardust curator Michael Zolensky said: "It seems that comets are a mixture of materials formed at all temperatures, at places very near the early sun and at places very remote from it."

The revelation means comets may not be as simple as the clouds of ice, dust and gases they were thought to be. The researchers compare the high temperature material to Hawaiian beach sand, with iron, magnesium, calcium, aluminum and titanium components.

Stardust principal investigator Donald Brownlee spelt out the paradox of the finding: "The interesting thing is we are finding these high-temperature minerals in materials from the coldest place in the solar system."

Stardust returned to Earth in the Utah desert back in January. Next for the international community of 150 scientists working on the samples is to examine the interstellar dust material the probe returned. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.