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The asteroid-comet continuum; in search of lost primitivity

Matthieu Gounelle
The asteroid-comet continuum; in search of lost primitivity
Elements (February 2011) 7 (1): 29-34


Recent results from the Stardust comet sample-return mission have confirmed the idea that there is a continuum between primitive small bodies in the outer main asteroid belt and comets. Indeed, the mineralogy as well as the chemical and oxygen isotope compositions of the dust from comet Wild 2 are very similar to those of carbonaceous chondrites, a class of meteorites allegedly derived from primitive, dark asteroids. Comets no longer represent extremely primitive samples of the early Solar System that are radically different from dark asteroids. We enter a new era in which comets and their siblings, the dark asteroids, are seen as a collection of individual objects whose geology can be studied. The most primitive of these objects, i.e. the ones that escaped thermal metamorphism or hydrothermal alteration, can help us decipher physicochemical processes in the interstellar medium and in the protoplanetary disk from which our Solar System formed.

ISSN: 1811-5209
Serial Title: Elements
Serial Volume: 7
Serial Issue: 1
Title: The asteroid-comet continuum; in search of lost primitivity
Author(s): Gounelle, Matthieu
Affiliation: Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Mineralogie et de Cosmochimie du Museum, Paris, France
Pages: 29-34
Published: 201102
Text Language: English
Publisher: Mineralogical Society of America and Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and Mineralogical Association of Canada and Geochemical Society and Clay Minerals Society, International
References: 34
Accession Number: 2011-028232
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Country of Publication: International
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, copyright, Mineralogical Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201116
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