More than 5,000 tons of extraterrestrial dust fall to Earth each year — ScienceDaily

Each individual year, our world encounters dust from comets and asteroids. These interplanetary dust particles move by way of our environment and give increase to shooting stars. Some of them arrive at the ground in the variety of micrometeorites. An worldwide plan performed for practically 20 a long time by experts from the CNRS, the Université Paris-Saclay and the Countrywide museum of pure heritage with the support of the French polar institute, has established that 5,200 tons for every 12 months of these micrometeorites achieve the ground. The study will be accessible in the journal Earth & Planetary Science Letters from April 15.

Micrometeorites have normally fallen on our planet. These interplanetary dust particles from comets or asteroids are particles of a couple of tenths to hundredths of a millimetre that have passed through the ambiance and arrived at the Earth’s surface area.

To collect and analyse these micrometeorites, 6 expeditions led by CNRS researcher Jean Duprat have taken position over the past two decades near the Franco-Italian Concordia station (Dome C), which is situated 1,100 kilometres off the coast of Adélie Land, in the coronary heart of Antarctica. Dome C is an great assortment location because of to the very low accumulation level of snow and the near absence of terrestrial dust.

These expeditions have gathered more than enough extraterrestrial particles (ranging from 30 to 200 micrometres in dimensions), to measure their once-a-year flux, which corresponds to the mass accreted on Earth for every square metre for each calendar year.

If these success are applied to the complete world, the whole once-a-year flux of micrometeorites represents 5,200 tons for every year. This is the key resource of extraterrestrial make a difference on our earth, significantly ahead of bigger objects this sort of as meteorites, for which the flux is significantly less than ten tons for every 12 months.

A comparison of the flux of micrometeorites with theoretical predictions confirms that most micrometeorites likely come from comets (80%) and the relaxation from asteroids.

This is useful information and facts to far better comprehend the job performed by these interplanetary dust particles in giving drinking water and carbonaceous molecules on the younger Earth.


  1. Comets are produced of dust and ice. They come from significantly distances, from the Kuiper belt to the outer reaches of the Photo voltaic Technique. As they method the Solar, comets grow to be energetic by way of the sublimation of their ices and release cometary dust.
  2. An asteroid is a mainly rocky celestial body of among a several hundred metres to quite a few kilometres in size. The vast majority of these bodies are found in the asteroid belt involving Mars and Jupiter.
  3. This software has obtained funding from the IPEV, the CNRS, the CNES, the ANR, the Domaine d’intérêt majeur ACAV+, which supports study in the Ile-de-France region in the fields of astrophysics and the disorders of the look of lifestyle, as very well as from LabEx P2IO. The French Polar Institute (IPEV) and its Italian counterpart (PNRA) delivered the logistical aid desired to have out the discipline assortment application.
  4. The French laboratories included are: the Laboratoire de physique des deux infinis — Irène Joliot-Curie (CNRS / Université Paris-Saclay / Université de Paris), the Institut de minéralogie, de physique des matériaux et de cosmochimie (CNRS / National museum of organic background / Université Sorbonne) and the Institut des sciences moléculaires d’Orsay (CNRS / Université Paris-Saclay). Three foreign laboratories are also involved: the Catholic College of The united states and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Middle in the United States, and the College of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
  5. 1 micrometre (µm) is equivalent to .001 millimetres, or a single thousandth of a millimetre.

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