A simple trail of the interstellar dust can take us back to the origin of the solar system. Just like every other star and planet systems of the different galaxies, our solar system started as a cloud of interstellar dust and gas. Some of those pre-solar dust particles are still preserved in certain cosmic objects like the comets and asteroids. Tons of such cosmic specks of dust fall on the Earth’s atmosphere every year. The scientists are following a trail of such interstellar dust to go back in time to discover more details about the formation and transformation of our solar system.
NASA Is Analyzing Such Pre-Solar Cosmic Dust –
NASA uses a special aircraft with a sticky collector to catch the falling interstellar specks of dust onto the Earth’s atmosphere at a very high altitude. The lower the specks of dust come down, they get contaminated by the materials present on our planet. Hope Ishii is leading a team of researchers to study and analyze an exceptionally ancient type of interplanetary dust particles collected by the aircraft. These dust particles are composed of grains of glass, metals, and sulfides. The origin of the dust particles is dated back to the pre-solar days. They have survived the building phase of our solar system. In other words, they are the surviving dust particular of our solar system that did not transform into planets and stars.
Digging Deeper To Go Back In Time –
The composition of the cosmic dust particles that Hope Ishii and his team are analyzing for years has been termed as GEMS. GEMS stands for Glass Embedded On Metal and Sulfides. GEMS are surrounded by carbon atoms of different types that decompose at a very low temperature. Therefore, the team has assumed that these cosmic specks of dust have come from a rather cold inner solar nebula. But going by their age, how these dust particles have survived the extreme interstellar conditions without decomposing is still a mystery.
The scientists are digging deeper to understand the condition under which the solar system started its formation of the sun and the planets and satellites. They are hopeful that sooner than later they will have an exact understanding of the process of formation of our solar system and how the cosmic materials were altered to bring about the formation of stars and planets. NASA is continuously collecting cosmic clouds of dust falling on the Earth in search of more primitive particles that could reveal more about the formation of the entire universe.