Cosmic dust, its composition and properties are little known to a person who is not associated with the study of extraterrestrial space. However, this phenomenon leaves its traces on our planet! Let us consider in more detail where it comes from and how it affects life on Earth. Cosmic dust is microscopic metal particles, crushed remnants of asteroids, and frozen liquid particles that can be found anywhere in the universe.
Space dust concept
Cosmic dust on Earth is most often found in certain layers of the ocean floor, ice sheets of the polar regions of the planet, peat deposits, inaccessible places in the desert and meteorite craters. The size of this substance is less than 200 nm, which makes its study problematic.
Usually the concept of cosmic dust includes the demarcation of interstellar and interplanetary varieties. However, all this is very conditional. The most convenient option for studying such a phenomenon is considered to be the study of dust from space at the borders of the solar system or beyond.
The reason for this problematic approach to the study of the object is that the properties of extraterrestrial dust change dramatically when it is near a star like the Sun.
Theories of the origin of cosmic dust
Streams of cosmic dust constantly attack the surface of the Earth. The question arises where this substance comes from. Its origins give rise to many discussions among experts in this field.
There are such theories of the formation of cosmic dust:
- Decay of celestial bodies… Some scientists believe that cosmic dust is nothing more than the result of the destruction of asteroids, comets and meteorites.
- The remnants of a cloud of protoplanetary type… There is a version according to which cosmic dust is attributed to microparticles of a protoplanetary cloud. However, this assumption raises some doubts due to the fragility of the finely dispersed substance.
- The result of an explosion on the stars… As a result of this process, according to some experts, a powerful release of energy and gas occurs, which leads to the formation of cosmic dust.
- Residual phenomena after the formation of new planets… The so-called construction waste has become the basis for the generation of dust.
According to some studies, a certain part of the constituent of cosmic dust arose before the formation of the solar system, which makes this substance even more interesting for further study. This is worth paying attention to when evaluating and analyzing such an extraterrestrial phenomenon.
The main types of space dust
There is currently no specific classification of the types of cosmic dust. It is possible to distinguish between subspecies by visual characteristics and the location of these microparticles.
Consider seven groups of cosmic dust in the atmosphere, differing in external indicators:
- Irregular gray debris. These are residual phenomena after the collision of meteorites, comets and asteroids no larger than 100-200 nm in size.
- Particles of cinder-like and ash-like formation. Such objects are difficult to identify solely by external signs, because they have undergone changes after passing through the Earth's atmosphere.
- The grains are round in shape, which are similar in parameters to black sand. Outwardly, they resemble magnetite powder (magnetic iron ore).
- Small black circles with a characteristic luster. Their diameter does not exceed 20 nm, which makes their study a painstaking task.
- Larger balls of the same color with a rough surface. Their size reaches 100 nm and allows a detailed study of their composition.
- Balls of a certain color with a predominance of black and white tones with gas inclusions. These microparticles of space origin are composed of a silicate base.
- Balls of a dissimilar structure made of glass and metal. Such elements are characterized by microscopic dimensions within 20 nm.
According to the astronomical location, 5 groups of cosmic dust are distinguished:
- Dust in intergalactic space. This view can distort the dimensions of the distances in certain calculations and can change the color of space objects.
- Formations within the Galaxy. The space within these limits is always filled with dust from the destruction of cosmic bodies.
- A substance concentrated between the stars. It is most interesting due to the presence of a shell and a hard core.
- Dust located near a specific planet. It is usually found in the ring system of a celestial body.
- Dust clouds around the stars. They circle along the orbital path of the star itself, reflecting its light and creating a nebula.
Three groups by the total specific gravity of microparticles look like this:
- Metal band. Representatives of this subspecies have a specific gravity of more than five grams per cubic centimeter, and their base consists mainly of iron.
- Silicate-based group. The base is transparent glass with a specific gravity of approximately three grams per cubic centimeter.
- Mixed group. The very name of this association indicates the presence of both glass and iron in the structure of microparticles. The base also includes magnetic elements.
Four groups according to the similarity of the internal structure of cosmic dust microparticles:
- Hollow-filled spherules. This species is often found in places where meteorites fall.
- Spherules of metal formation. This subspecies has a core of cobalt and nickel, as well as a shell that has oxidized.
- Balls of uniform addition. Such grains have an oxidized shell.
- Balls with a silicate base. The presence of gas inclusions gives them the appearance of ordinary slags, and sometimes foam.
It should be remembered that these classifications are very arbitrary, but they serve as a certain reference point for designating the types of dust from space.
Composition and characteristics of the components of cosmic dust
Let's take a closer look at what cosmic dust consists of. There is a certain problem in determining the composition of these microparticles. Unlike gaseous substances, solids have a continuous spectrum with relatively few bands that are blurred. As a result, it becomes difficult to identify cosmic dust particles.
The composition of cosmic dust can be considered using the example of the main models of this substance. These include the following subspecies:
- Ice particles, the structure of which includes a core with a refractory characteristic. The shell of such a model consists of lightweight elements. Large particles contain atoms with elements of magnetic properties.
- Model MRN, the composition of which is determined by the presence of silicate and graphite inclusions.
- Oxide cosmic dust, which is based on the diatomic oxides of magnesium, iron, calcium and silicon.
General classification by chemical composition of cosmic dust:
- Balls with a metallic formation nature. Such microparticles contain an element such as nickel.
- Metal balls with iron and nickel free.
- Silicone based circles.
- Irregularly shaped nickel-iron balls.
More specifically, you can consider the composition of cosmic dust on the example of found in oceanic silt, sedimentary rocks and glaciers. Their formula will differ little from one another.Findings during the study of the seabed are balls with a silicate and metal base with the presence of chemical elements such as nickel and cobalt. Also, in the depths of the water element, microparticles with the presence of aluminum, silicon and magnesium were found.
The soil is fertile for the presence of cosmic material. A particularly large number of spherules have been found in places where meteorites fall. They are based on nickel and iron, as well as all kinds of minerals such as troilite, cohenite, steatite and other components.
Glaciers also hide aliens from outer space in the form of dust in their clumps. Silicate, iron and nickel form the basis of the found spherules. All mined particles were classified into 10 clearly delineated groups.
Difficulties in determining the composition of the object under study and differentiating it from impurities of terrestrial origin leave this question open for further research.
Influence of cosmic dust on vital processes
The influence of this substance has not been fully studied by specialists, which gives great opportunities in terms of further activities in this direction. At a certain height, with the help of rockets, a specific belt consisting of cosmic dust was discovered. This gives grounds to assert that such extraterrestrial matter affects some of the processes taking place on planet Earth.
The effect of cosmic dust on the upper atmosphere
Recent studies indicate that the amount of cosmic dust can affect the change in the upper atmosphere. This process is very significant, because it leads to certain fluctuations in the climatic characteristics of the planet Earth.
A huge amount of dust from asteroid collisions fills the space around our planet. Its amount reaches almost 200 tons per day, which, according to scientists, cannot but leave its consequences.
The most susceptible to this attack, according to the same experts, is the northern hemisphere, whose climate is prone to cold temperatures and dampness.
The impact of space dust on cloud formation and climate change has not yet been adequately studied. New research in this area is raising more and more questions, the answers to which have not yet been received.
Effect of dust from space on the transformation of oceanic silt
Irradiation of cosmic dust by the solar wind leads to the fact that these particles fall on the Earth. Statistics show that the lightest of the three isotopes of helium in huge quantities gets through dust particles from space into oceanic silt.
The absorption of elements from space by minerals of ferromanganese origin served as the basis for the formation of unique ore formations on the ocean floor.
At the moment, the amount of manganese in the regions close to the polar circle is limited. All this is due to the fact that cosmic dust does not enter the oceans in those areas due to ice sheets.
The effect of cosmic dust on the composition of the World Ocean water
If we consider the glaciers of Antarctica, then they are striking in the number of meteorite remnants found in them and the presence of cosmic dust, which is a hundred times higher than the usual background.
An excessively high concentration of the same helium-3, valuable metals in the form of cobalt, platinum and nickel, makes it possible to assert with confidence the fact of the interference of cosmic dust in the composition of the ice sheet. At the same time, the substance of extraterrestrial origin remains in its original form and not diluted by the waters of the ocean, which in itself is a unique phenomenon.
According to some scientists, the amount of cosmic dust in such peculiar ice sheets over the past million years has been on the order of several hundred trillion meteorite formations. During the warming period, these covers melt and carry elements of cosmic dust into the World Ocean.
Watch a video about cosmic dust:
This cosmic neoplasm and its influence on some factors of the life of our planet have been little studied. It is important to remember that a substance can affect climate change, the structure of the ocean floor and the concentration of certain substances in the waters of the oceans. Photos of cosmic dust indicate how many more mysteries these microparticles conceal in themselves. All this makes learning like this interesting and relevant!