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New Insights on Micrometeorites (MICROMET)
Date du début: 15 avr. 2013, Date de fin: 14 avr. 2015 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

"Micrometeorites are extraterrestrial dust particles that reach the Earth’s surface. They largely originate from comets and asteroids, the small bodies of our solar system believed to contain primordial solar system materials in a range of states of preservation. The mineralogy of these materials provides a record of their formation environment (e.g. temperatures and materials available) and/or subsequent parent body processing they experienced since accretion (e.g. exposure to water or heat). Therefore, the study of micrometeorites can provide valuable information regarding conditions in the early solar system and evolution of the small solar system bodies from which they originate. Micrometeorites constitute more incoming mass of material and sample more parent bodies than the larger meteorites, yet much less research has been done on them as their small size has made analyzing and collecting them difficult until relatively recently.We propose to systematically characterize and compare new micrometeorites from the South Pole and a unique collection from Kwajalein with the aim of gaining new insights into the formation, evolution and current state of small solar system bodies. We will use state of the art facilities to prepare and analyze these particles in order to identify and interpret rare or unusual micrometeorites that represent previously unsampled parent bodies, understand atmospheric entry alteration and terrestrial weathering effects, and determine the sources (asteroid or comet) and flux of micrometeorite types with time.The proposed work will transfer the Fellow’s expertise in small sample preparation and analysis to the Natural History Museum and expand its repertoire of extraterrestrial material studies. This will reinforce Natural History Museum’s reputation as a world-class facility for the curation and study of extraterrestrial materials and strengthen research links between the UK and key NASA funded facilities in the USA."