3D porosity structure of the earliest solar system materialOPEN ACCESS 

Romy D. Hanna, Richard A. Ketcham, David R. Edey & Josh O’Connell

Scientific Reports, Volume 12, Article number: 8369
Published: 19 May 2022


“Carbonaceous chondrites (CCs) contain the earliest preserved Solar System material, and objects containing this material are targets of numerous sample return missions. Both laboratory and remote sensing data have shown that this material can be highly porous, but the origin and nature of this porosity is currently not well understood. Because the majority of porosity within CCs is submicron to micron in size, previous lab efforts have been restricted by the limited observational scale required to examine this porosity with currently available techniques. Here we present results from a newly developed technique that allows submicron porosity to be examined in 3D within a 12 mm3 volume of CM Murchison. We use X-ray computed tomography combined with the highly attenuating noble gas xenon to characterize porosity well below the spatial resolution of the data (3.01 µm/voxel). This method not only allows examination of submicron porosity within a significantly larger volume than previously possible but also reveals the full three-dimensional porosity structure and pore connectivity. Our data reveal that some fine-grained rims (FGRs) surrounding chondrules have a complex 3D porosity structure, suggesting formation of the FGRs via dust aggregates or variable secondary processing around the rim after accretion.”