Tags: interplanetary | dust | comets | space | dirt

Interplanetary Dust: Comets Dump Space Dirt on Earth

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 08:27 AM

Interplanetary dust is transported around the solar system by comets, scientists have discovered.

Roughly 30,000 to 40,000 tons of interplanetary dust fall on Earth each year, and the European Space Agency (ESA) has confirmed that this dust comes from comets, which shed their surface matter as they orbit closer to the sun and its warming rays.

"As the orbits of comets bring them near the sun, their ice sublimates, or turns directly from solid to gas. The closer the comets get, the more gas they give off, and the more dust gets freed from the ice, as well," explained Space.com

On Monday, scientists from ESA's Rosetta mission — the one that landed a probe on the surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November — published its findings on space dust in the journal Nature. 

The dust was collected by a plate on the COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser, or COSIMA, as the Rosetta orbiter trailed the comet at distances less than 30 kilometers.

The researchers reported that the study of the space dust commenced as soon as the Rosetta craft completed its 10-year journey to the Comet 67P in August. From August to October, it observed and collected the comet's dust as it moved from 535 million kilometers to 450 million kilometers from the Sun.

Along with the findings, the team also posted pictures of the dust to Twitter.



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Interplanetary dust is transported around the solar system by comets, scientists have discovered.
interplanetary, dust, comets, space, dirt
252
2015-27-27
Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 08:27 AM
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