2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Sampling comet dust from Antarctic air

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O-399-S Research Location(s): On station


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Timothy Ager / Neal Scheibe / Leah Street

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Susan Taylor
Army Corps of Engineers
Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Hanover, New Hampshire


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: On station


Analyses of interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) collected in the stratosphere by aircraft have shown that some of these particles, the chondritic porous IDPs (CP-IDPs), are primitive materials. They contain vapor-deposited silicates thought to be preserved interstellar materials transported to the inner solar system by comets. Past researchers have collected rare ultra-carbonaceous micrometeorites and particles indistinguishable from CP-IDPs from melted Antarctic snow. These particles have shown affinities to CP-IDPs and grains of the Wild 2 comet. This project aims to collect samples to analyze the isotopic and elemental composition and describe their microstructure. The results will be used to catalog the diversity of the primitive materials, origin of the comets, and increase the permanent collection for the extraterrestrial materials community.

Field Season Overview

In the 2018-19 season, the support contractor research associate (RA) will assist Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) personnel to decommission the collector for return shipment. All researcher-owned items will be removed from station. The building will be relocated to the portable building line and the cable removed.

Deploying Team Members

  • James Lever (Co-PI)
  • Rhonda Stroud (Co-PI)