ENP Newswire -
Release date- 1808014
- n international team of scientists has examined dust grains gathered by the NASA Stardust spacecraft and brought back to Earth - and has discovered that they originated in the interstellar dust stream.
With the help of citizen scientists, the research team has identified seven dust particles and residues - less than 1 millionth of a metre across - that are consistent with interstellar dust, which they have documented in an academic paper entitled 'Evidence for interstellar origin of seven dust particles collected by the Stardust spacecraft' and published in the journal Science.
Analysis of these particles is significant for increasing our understanding of what interstellar grains are made of, in order to better understand the complexities of the solar system's formation. As interstellar matter is the substance that generates new stars and planetary systems, particles such as those discovered could serve as building blocks for future planets.
The study, which was led by Dr
The Stardust spacecraft used giant tiles made out of aerogel and aluminium foil to collect the dust samples. Aerogel is an extremely low density lightweight synthetic material, often described as 'solid smoke'.
'Some of these grains formed in suns predating ours, so we are looking beyond our own Solar System when we study them. We have also learnt a lot about how to collect and analyse these tiny grains, which are less than 1 millionth of a metre in size, which will be important in future missions.'
The preliminary findings of the study are based on an analysis of microscopic particles collected by
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