Micrometeorites at Concordia

The general framework of the present project is the astrophysical context of the solar system formation and its evolution during the first millions of years after the gravitational collapse of the proto-Sun. Most of the constraints we have on this remote period are coming from the study of solar system small bodies (i.e. asteroids, comets) that are undifferentiated. The aim is collect micrometeorites (i.e. interplanetary dust particles) from central Antarctic snow at the vicinity of CONCORDIA Station. The major result of our previous collection program at Dome C (January 2006) was the discovery of a new type of interplanetary dust (i.e. ultracarbonaceous micrometeorites, UCAMMs) of most probable cometary origin (Duprat et al. Science 2010). These particles are very rare and Dome C has unique advantages for their recovery. We propose a 4 years program in order to perform a collection of more than 10 000 micrometeorites including several tens of UCAMMs. The mineralogical, chemical and isotopical study of these exceptional particles will be performed in the framework of a research contract that we recently obtained from the french “Agence Nationale de la Recherche” (ANR) .