Scientists have discovered that interplanetary dust particles in comets contain remnants of the solar system that may provide a deeper understanding of how planets formed.
Representation image. Reuters
Researchers from University of Hawaii demonstrated that the initial solids from which the solar system was formed consisted almost entirely of amorphous silicate, carbon, and ices.
This dust was destroyed and reworked mainly by processes that led to the formation of planets.
Surviving samples of pre-solar dust are more likely to be preserved in comets: small, cold bodies that formed in the outer solar nebula.
In a relatively dark clbad of interplanetary dust particles that are believed to originate from comets, there are small glbady grains called GEMS (glbad embedded with metal and sulfides) typically from tens to hundreds of nanometers in diameter, less than 1/100 of the thickness of human hair.
Using electronic transmission microscopy, the researchers made maps of the distributions of elements and discovered that these glbady grains are formed by subgrades that merged in a different environment and before the formation of the parent body of the comet.
This aggregate is encapsulated by carbon of a type other than carbon that forms a matrix that binds GEMS and other components of cometary dust.
The types of carbon bordering the subgrades and forming the matrix in these particles decompose with a still weak warming, suggesting that the GEMS could not have formed in the hot inner solar nebula, and instead formed in a cold environment, rich in radiation, such as the outer solar cloud or molecular pre-solar cloud.
"Our observations suggest that these exotic grains represent pre-solar interstellar dust that survived and formed the same building blocks of planets and stars," said Hope Ishii of the University of Hawaii.
"If we look at the starting materials of planet formation 4,600 million years ago, that is exciting and makes possible a deeper understanding of the processes that shaped and modified them since then," Ishii added. .
T In addition, the team plans to look inside for additional comet dust particles, especially those that were well protected during their pbadage through the Earth's atmosphere.
This will help increase understanding of the carbon distribution within GEMS and the size distributions of GEMS subgrades.