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Comet Dust Holds Clues of the Solar System

We all are aware about the fact that the solar system began as a cloud of interstellar dust and gas. Scientists have been studying about the pre-solar dust which was stored in comets even before the comets made their way to Earth. This will help them in studying about the formation of the solar system. Tons of cosmic dust falls on the Earth’s atmosphere and these dust particles are collected with the help of special ’sticky’ collector i.e. an aircraft by NASA. These sticky collectors are coated with silicone oil so that it can catch dust at high altitudes before it is contaminated by the earth’s atmosphere. These dust particles are tiny glass grains which are embedded with metal and sulfides or gems.

The researchers are using a technique of beaming electrons through a specimen to create a picture, this technique is known as transmission electron microscopy. With the help of this process they figured out about the Gems being formed by the smaller sub-grains which came into existence even before their comet parent which also means even before the time when solar system was developed. The dust is formed in a farther, colder and a location which is rich in radiation such as outer nebula or even a pre-solar molecular cloud. These dust particles is said to have survived extreme interstellar conditions. The research team will study the comet dust in a better way to understand the composition of Gems and sub-grains.

By: Swati Kaushal