Post by thedirtman on Aug 14, 2014 21:58:47 GMT -5
Cosmic grains pre-date Solar System
By Maria Dasi Espuig Science Reporter
Scientists may have identified the first known dust particles from outside our Solar System, in samples returned to Earth by a Nasa space mission.
A team of scientists, with the help of more than 30,000 worldwide citizens, has identified seven exotic grains.
The material was captured by the Stardust spacecraft and brought back to Earth in 2006.
The region between stars - interstellar space - is not entirely empty, but is filled with microscopic particles.
The material that forms interstellar dust is a product of the aeons of stellar birth, evolution and death that went into building our cosmic neighbourhood. The material originated in the extremely hot interior of other stars before the Sun was born, and were expelled into interstellar space where they condensed into tiny rocks as they cooled down.
Having these particles on Earth means that scientists can characterise them in unprecedented detail. The composition and structure of the collected samples could help explain the origin and evolution of interstellar dust.