Electron microscopy will be useful for characterization of inorganic dust grains in returned comet nucleus samples. The choice of instrument(s) will depend primarily on the nature of the samples, but ultimately a variety of electron-beam methods could be employed. Scanning and analytical (transmission) electron microscopy are the logical choise for morphological, mineralogical, and bulk chemical analyses of dust grains removed from ices. It may also be possible to examine unmelted ice/dust mixtures using an environmental scanning electron microscope equipped with a cryo-transfer unit and a cold stage. Electron microscopic observations of comet nuclei might include: (1) porosities of dust grains; (2) morphologies and microstructures of individual mineral grains; (3) relative abundances of olivine, pyroxene, and glass; and (4) the presence of phases that might have resulted from aqueous alteration (layer silicates, carbonates, sulfates).
Analysis of Returned Comet Nucleus Samples
- Pub Date:
- Chemical Analysis;
- Comet Nuclei;
- Electron Microscopy;