Brownleeite is a silicide mineral with chemical formula MnSi. It was discovered by researchers of the Johnson Space Center in Houston while analyzing the Pi Puppid particle shower of the comet 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup. The only other known natural manganese silicide is mavlyanovite, Mn5Si3.[3]

CategoryNative element class, Fersilicite group
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification1.XX.00
Dana classification01.01.23.07
Crystal systemIsometric
Crystal classTetartoidal (23)
H-M symbol: (23)
Space groupP213
Crystal habitCubic grain in microscopic dust particle (< 2.5 μm)


The particles were collected from the stratosphere over south-western US in April 2003 using an ER-2 high-altitude research aircraft of NASA. The team of researchers from USA, Germany and Japan was led by NASA scientist Keiko Nakamura-Messenger.[4][5]

To determine the mineral's origin and examine other dust materials, a new transmission electron microscope was installed in 2005 at Johnson Space Center.[6]

The mineral name was approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA Number 2008-011).[7] The NASA scientists named the mineral after Donald E. Brownlee, professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, Seattle, because of his pioneering research on interplanetary dust particles.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Webmineral data
  2. ^
  3. ^ Mindat,
  4. ^ "University of Washington News of Juni 12, 2008". Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
  5. ^ Newswise: Like a Rock: New Mineral Named for Astronomer Retrieved on June 15, 2008
  6. ^ NASA News Releases June 12, 2008: NASA Finds New Type of Comet Dust Mineral
  7. ^ Minerals approved by the IMA-CNMNC in June 2008[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Universe Today June 12, 2008: Alien Mineral From Comet Dust Found in Earth's Atmosphere

External linksEdit