18 years of NASA research: The surprising truth about comet Wild 2 revealed

"Each piece carries a different story"

1 min read
Wild 2 is named after Swiss astronomer Paul Wild, who first spotted the comet on January 6, 1978 (NASA)

NASA’s samples from comet Wild 2 have revealed a surprising fact about the celestial body’s past.

Scientists who continue to study the samples brought back by the Stardust spacecraft 18 years ago said the celestial body carries information about the formation of the universe.

Researchers who studied Wild 2’s samples years ago thought that the comet was formed by debris from the dust cloud that formed the Solar System.

But new analysis has revealed that Wild 2 carries a mixture of dust remnants related to different events that took place early in the Solar System’s history.

“This comet witnessed the events that made the Solar System what it is today,” said Ryan Ogliore of the University of Washington.

Ogliore pointed out that Wild 2 remained intact thanks to the freezing conditions in space and said that the comet carries carbon-iron compounds not previously seen in meteroids.

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The researcher also stated that Wild 2 contains particles that can be considered ancestors of the small spherical particles called “igneous spherules” seen in many meteorites.

The scientist said that the amount of samples they have of the comet is very small, yet each piece tells a completely different story. It will take more time to uncover all this, the researcher said.



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