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Stardust Analysis Results, initial results for comet Wild 2, including organic compounds
Guest_paulanderson_*
post Feb 21 2006, 06:17 PM
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I thought the analysis results, as they come in, deserved their own thread. I'm interested in how these findings relate to the "weird crystals" found and reported on in the previous Nature article.

A couple more updates, from Space.com and MSNBC:

Stardust Mission Yields Ancient Comet Dust
http://space.com/scienceastronomy/060220_s...ust_update.html

Comet Dust Sparks Scientific Intrigue
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11460590

"The early results reveal that the 4.5 billion-year-old comet contains iron, sulfides, glassy materials, olivine, and what the scientists termed potentially interesting isotopic traces. They believe that these materials were also available during the formation of other objects in our solar system.

What's even more amazing is how well the first round of analysis is matching expectations. Brownlee and other Stardust scientists are holding back their first formal reports for a scientific meeting in Texas next month — but during Monday's news conference, Brownlee said the samples studied so far contain iron sulfides and glassy material such as crystalline silicates. Those ingredients are found in meteorites as well.

Later, Brownlee told MSNBC.com that there were preliminary indications of organic compounds, based on telltale infrared readings. He cautioned that the initial indications were tentative and could still be traced to contaminants.

In the weeks and months ahead, Sandford and his team will be analyzing the types of carbon found in the samples — not only to trace the organics, but also to determine whether such compounds predated the formation of the solar system."
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The Messenger
post Feb 24 2006, 08:35 PM
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QUOTE (paulanderson @ Feb 21 2006, 11:17 AM) *
I thought the analysis results, as they come in, deserved their own thread. I'm interested in how these findings relate to the "weird crystals" found and reported on in the previous Nature article.

A couple more updates, from Space.com and MSNBC:

Stardust Mission Yields Ancient Comet Dust
http://space.com/scienceastronomy/060220_s...ust_update.html

Comet Dust Sparks Scientific Intrigue
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11460590

"The early results reveal that the 4.5 billion-year-old comet contains iron, sulfides, glassy materials, olivine, and what the scientists termed potentially interesting isotopic traces. They believe that these materials were also available during the formation of other objects in our solar system.

What's even more amazing is how well the first round of analysis is matching expectations...."

QUOTE (RGClark @ Feb 16 2006, 09:43 PM) *
Just saw this on Uplink.space.com:

Published online: 13 February 2006
A comet's tale.
...
"Whatever it is, it's weird"
After fiddling around to improve the picture slightly, Kearsley starts a more intensive scan of the grain that will reveal its chemical make-up. As the analysis comes through, there are cries of surprise. "Whatever it is, it's weird," says Bland.
"The team agonize over the decision to make another scan to get more accurate results, but Kearsley is worried about "frying" the sample. "These grains have had a long journey and rather a lot of money spent on them," he cautions.
"They can see that just a few minutes exposure to high-energy electrons has changed the structure of some of the epoxy surrounding the grain, so they finally decide that the initial results are so astonishing that they should contact Mike Zolensky at Johnson Space Center immediately to tell him about the find, and wait for further instructions. Zolensky is in charge of the preliminary analysis of the samples, and is collating all the information from these first tests."
http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060213/full/060213-2.html
Bob Clark

So are the early results weird, or is it amazing how close they matched expectations huh.gif

Is the language of science so inprecise that astonishingly weird means the same thing as amazingly close to expectations? Is it astonishingly weird that the initial results are amazingly close to expectations, or were they amazed to expect such astonishingly weird results? ohmy.gif
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Feb 27 2006, 01:45 AM
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Another article also, from Discovery Channel:

Comet Dust Has Hints of Organic Matter
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060...ardust_spa.html
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edstrick
post Feb 27 2006, 07:18 AM
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"Is the language of science so inprecise that astonishingly weird means the same thing as amazingly close to expectations? Is it astonishingly weird that the initial results are amazingly close to expectations, or were they amazed to expect such astonishingly weird results? "

This is not the languate of science. It's the language of press-release, reporters, and off-the-cuff scientists trying to 1) give something utterly esoteric simple comprehensibility, and 2) boost public enthusiasm for the discoveries.

The "dirty snowball model" has been widely trumpeted as "overturned" but it's long if ever that the real "best consensus understanding" of a comet's nucleus was like a hard-packed re-frozen snowball with dirt.... that phrase has been an over-familiar "quick and dirty" descriptive phrase that took on a life and a pseudo-scientific reality of it's own.
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Phil Stooke
post Feb 27 2006, 02:02 PM
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Right on, edstrick!

Phil


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... because the Solar System ain't gonna map itself.
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The Messenger
post Feb 27 2006, 03:47 PM
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QUOTE (edstrick @ Feb 27 2006, 12:18 AM) *
"Is the language of science so inprecise that astonishingly weird means the same thing as amazingly close to expectations? Is it astonishingly weird that the initial results are amazingly close to expectations, or were they amazed to expect such astonishingly weird results biggrin.gif "

This is not the languate of science. It's the language of press-release, reporters, and off-the-cuff scientists trying to 1) give something utterly esoteric simple comprehensibility, and 2) boost public enthusiasm for the discoveries.

Well, they have my attention. I think if you attach an excited London'rs voice to the first article, and a "Hell, we already knowed that" Texas drawl to the second article, you can see the unexpanded truth is somewhere in between.

QUOTE
The "dirty snowball model" has been widely trumpeted as "overturned" but it's long if ever that the real "best consensus understanding" of a comet's nucleus was like a hard-packed re-frozen snowball with dirt.... that phrase has been an over-familiar "quick and dirty" descriptive phrase that took on a life and a pseudo-scientific reality of it's own.

True, but for the decades leading up to the comet chasing missions (Borelly, Haley) Zwicky's dirty snowball WAS the prevailing model. In any case, the moisture content in Tempel 1, and likely many comets, is much less than expected, and if you could tell Zwicky the predominant material blasted from the face of a comet was fine dust and iron rich clays, he would roll over in his grave. The "dirty snowball" model as originally envisioned has been overturned, but for those following the science closely, this happened about a decade ago.

I think it is very legitimate, at this time, to rise the question: If we need an explanation for why the earth has oceans, the collision of objects like Saturns icy moons, rather than comets as we now know them, seems a little more likely. True, the comets we see may have once been much more like these icy moons, boiling off surface ice over millennia of close encounters with the sun.

The astrophysical sciences are being rewritten, and it is fun to be part of the process.
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dvandorn
post Feb 27 2006, 11:48 PM
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QUOTE (The Messenger @ Feb 27 2006, 09:47 AM) *
I think it is very legitimate, at this time, to rise the question: If we need an explanation for why the earth has oceans, the collision of objects like Saturns icy moons, rather than comets as we now know them, seems a little more likely.

Very provocative... I'm going to respond to this over on the Moon board, I think, for reasons that will become clear when y'all get there...

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Mar 7 2006, 01:05 AM
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Another article:

New Evidence Life on Earth Began in Space
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18360930-2,00.html

"SCIENTISTS examining the first dust samples collected from a comet have found complex carbon molecules, supporting the theory that ingredients for life on Earth originated in space."

I know, not a science journal article this time, but worth posting I thought. We will know more very soon now anyway from the LPS conference this month. smile.gif
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Mar 7 2006, 01:47 AM
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paulanderson, since I no longer post at the Space.com discussion boards, I'm glad that you can relay some of the references that I post here (e.g., Mars methane). And you even preserve my anonymity biggrin.gif
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Mar 7 2006, 02:48 AM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Mar 6 2006, 05:47 PM) *
paulanderson, since I no longer post at the Space.com discussion boards, I'm glad that you can relay some of the references that I post here (e.g., Mars methane). And you even preserve my anonymity biggrin.gif

Do you mean the recent clathrate abstract? I couldn't recall where I had first seen the link posted before (sorry), but I found that I still had the link bookmarked (I actually do normally post a mention if a link, etc. is referenced from a particular person). I remembered it when I saw the other photolysis abstract that I posted.

Why did you stop posting there, if I may ask? I still do, but not as much as I used to, partly just time-wise. In terms of Mars coverage in particular, I do prefer this forum; more up-to-date with less "intense" debates (in a negative way); the people here take their Mars studies seriously and it shows. Silylene is posting here more also now I see, good! smile.gif
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Mar 7 2006, 07:46 AM
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Stardust news conference on March 13:

NASA Announces First Stardust Comet Sample Results
http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2006/mar/H...st_results.html
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The Messenger
post Mar 7 2006, 04:50 PM
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QUOTE (paulanderson @ Mar 6 2006, 06:05 PM) *
Another article:

New Evidence Life on Earth Began in Space
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18360930-2,00.html

"SCIENTISTS examining the first dust samples collected from a comet have found complex carbon molecules, supporting the theory that ingredients for life on Earth originated in space."

I know, not a science journal article this time, but worth posting I thought. We will know more very soon now anyway from the LPS conference this month. smile.gif

PAHs (Poly-Aromic Hydrocarbons) are complex, and would be "Amazingly close to expectations", and progenitors to life on Earth. DNA with a negative twist would be "Astonishingly weird" but not close to expectations. I suppose it could be "Astonishingly weird" if PAHs were postitively identified, because the identification of cosmic PAHs is tentative. (Yes/No?)
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Mar 7 2006, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE (paulanderson @ Mar 7 2006, 02:48 AM) *
Why did you stop posting [at Space.com], if I may ask?

Despite a few good posters over there (e.g., JonClarke, silylene, borman, CalliArcale, Yevaud, shuttle_guy, etc.), the place was getting a little too kooky for me. And moreover, Space.com seems more concerned with keeping posters, no matter how stupid/loony/crazy they appear to be, than anything else. Doubtless this is for commercial reasons (i.e., for the sake of keeping eyeballs on their website), which I understand, but it's a little too freewheeling for me. Also, the Great Big Crash, which destroyed a large chunk of history, didn't inspire a lot of confidence.

Hey, if I want kookiness, I can always go back to USENET. At least there I don't have to wade through an ad-laden website. And I can use newsreader filters to screen out the loons biggrin.gif

That said, I do surf in to Space.com's groups from time to time to read some of the posts; however, I don't feel any great urge to jump in.

P.S. The post above can apply equally to other discussion groups. For example, I could just as easily substitute The Habitablezone for Space.com tongue.gif
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dvandorn
post Mar 7 2006, 09:54 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Mar 7 2006, 12:48 PM) *
Hey, if I want kookiness, I can always go back to USENET. At least there I don't have to wade through an ad-laden website. And I can use newsreader filters to screen out the loons biggrin.gif

Amen to that, brother. It's a testament to this place that I've never even had the urge to look and see if it's possible to filter someone out, here.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Mar 7 2006, 10:03 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Mar 7 2006, 09:54 PM) *
Amen to that, brother. It's a testament to this place that I've never even had the urge to look and see if it's possible to filter someone out, here.

I don't know. I did see "Ignore User" under "Profile Options." However, I'm not sure whether this applies only to personal messages or whether the user's posts will be filtered out as well.
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