31 août 2018
Small bodies have escaped planetary accretion and have best preserved the composition of the matter initially present in the solar nebula. Cosmic dust originates from these small bodies, asteroids and comets. Interplanetary and cometary dust are collected on Earth in places with a low accumulation rate of terrestrial dust, like the polar caps or the stratosphere. Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) have been collected in the stratosphere by NASA for a few decades. A fraction of IDPs (at least) are proposed to be of cometary origin. Cosmic dust from the polar caps are larger than IDPs and are called micrometeorites. We collect micrometeorite at the Concordia Antarctic station at Dome C since 2000. The Concordia collection contains very pristine samples, including particles that are dominated by organic matter and that are very probably cometary. Spatial missions like Stardust (NASA), Hayabusa (JAXA) and Rosetta (ESA) also gave access to the structure and composition of asteroidal and cometary dust. Stardust brought back dust particles from comet 81P/Wild 2, but the collection occurred at high relative velocity (6 km/s) and the samples were altered during the collection. The Rosetta mission collected dust particles from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at much lower velocity (1-10 m/s), but the analyses had to be performed in situ onboard the Rosetta orbiter by the dust instruments (GIADA, COSIMA, MIDAS). The Hayabusa mission returned samples from asteroid Itokawa, which is an asteroid related to ordinary chondrites. At least two future spatial missions are bound to bring back samples from carbonaceous asteroids: Hayabusa 2 (JAXA, asteroid Ryugu) et OSIRIS-REx (NASA, asteroid Bennu). The CAESAR mission is also currently under study to bring back a sample from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The presentation will summarize the present knowledge on the composition of interplanetary and cometary dust, based on the results of laboratory analysis of dust particles collected on Earth, and of spatial missions.