The origin of s-process isotope heterogeneity in the solar protoplanetary disk

Mattias Ek, Alison C. Hunt, Maria Lugaro & Maria Schönbächler

Nature Astronomy , 1–9

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“Rocky asteroids and planets display nucleosynthetic isotope variations that are attributed to the heterogeneous distribution of stardust from different stellar sources in the solar protoplanetary disk. Here we report new high-precision palladium isotope data for six iron meteorite groups. The palladium data display smaller nucleosynthetic isotope variations than the more refractory neighbouring elements. Based on this observation, we present a model in which thermal destruction of interstellar dust in the inner Solar System results in an enrichment of s-process-dominated stardust in regions closer to the Sun. We propose that stardust is depleted in volatile elements due to incomplete condensation of these elements into dust around asymptotic giant branch stars. This led to the smaller nucleosynthetic variations for Pd reported here and the lack of such variations for more volatile elements. The smaller magnitude variations measured in heavier refractory elements suggest that material from high-metallicity asymptotic giant branch stars is the dominant source of stardust in the Solar System. These stars produce fewer heavy s-process elements (proton number Z ≥ 56) compared with the bulk Solar System composition.”