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Abstract

The dust impact mass analyser (PUMA) carried by the spacecraft Vega 1 and Vega 2 has provided the first direct measurements of the physical and chemical properties of cometary dust. Particles of mass <10−14 g are much more abundant than was predicted by models1. Most of the particles are rich in light elements such as H, C, N and O, lending support to models that describe cometary material as consisting of radiation-processed ices. Three examples of mass spectra for typical particle compositions are shown.

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Affiliations

  1. Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, PO Box 103980, D-6900 Heidelberg 1, FRG

    • J. Kissel
    • , K. Büchler
    • , H. Fechtig
    •  & W. Knabe
  2. Space Research Institute, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117810 Moscow GSP-7, USSR

    • R. Z. Sagdeev
    • , E. N. Evlanov
    • , M. N. Fomenkova
    • , N. A. Inogamov
    • , V. N. Khromov
    • , V. B. Leonas
    • , G. G. Managadze
    • , S. N. Podkolzin
    • , V. D. Shapiro
    •  & B. V. Zubkov
  3. Service d'Aéronomie, BP 3, 91370 Verrières-le-Buisson, France

    • J. L. Bertaux
    • , J. E. Blamont
    •  & A. C. Levasseur-Regourd
  4. Laboratory for Space Experiments, Frunze, USSR

    • V. N. Angarov
    •  & S. R. Tabaldyev
  5. Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 75014 Paris, France

    • J. Audouze
  6. von Hoerner und Sulger Electronic Gmbh, D-6830 Schwetzingen, FRG

    • H. von Hoerner
  7. MPI consultant, D-6100 Darmstadt, FRG

    • F. R. Krueger
  8. Laboratoire René Bernas, 91406 Orsay, France

    • Y. Langevin

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About this article

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/321280a0

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