October 3, 2023

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The search for extraterrestrial life in the space dust of exoplanets

The search for extraterrestrial life in the space dust of exoplanets

StarIdentification cardE Impact, impression art credits; NASA/Don Davis

The Earth is constantly being bombed space dustit is estimated that every year about 40 thousand tons rain on the ground. Recently a Japanese astronomer, Professor Tomonori Totani of the University of Tokyothat proposal for research toDirect or indirect signs of life, as we know it, on space dust from exoplanets. Totani has in mind so-called “solid grains” that are ejected from terrestrial exoplanets in the Milky Way. This interstellar dust consists of particles ejected from outer planets, caused for example by an asteroid collision. this matter, While floating in space, it is subject to a Collisions, deformations or heating. Every day, these tiny meteor-shaped particles, which appear as bright streaks in the night sky, fall to Earth. Best places to go for this cosmic dust Search In Antarctica and at the bottom of the sea.

Concordia, a Franco-Italian research center in Antarctica for micrometeorites credits; ESA, IPEV, E. Bondoux, A. Kumar

These colliding materials can travel great distances, they travel across space by interstellar winds shock fronts. In theory it will be this The materials may contain direct or indirect signs of life from their host world, such as the recently deceased or Fossilized microorganisms. Dust can be a nuisance to astronomers on the one hand because it affects vision on a distant object, but could, according to Totani, also help in the search for extraterrestrial life.

He. She collisionMaterial (also ‘ejected’) will vary in size and, depending on the volume, behave differently once in space. Some large pieces may retract or go into a permanent orbit around a local planet or star. Some of the fragments may be too small to contain verifiable signs of life. But solid granules are close to 1 micrometer (one-thousandth of a millimeter) Only one can be copied single-celled organism But it may also be able to escape its solar system entirely, and end up elsewhere, likely including Earth.

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An interplanetary dust particle, most likely from our early solar system and found in our atmosphere. Credits NASA, UvSeattle, E. Jessberger/D. Brownlee

Toutani’s paper, “Solid Grains Ejected from Terrestrial Exoplanets as Probes for the Abundance of Life in the Milky Way” explores this idea. Using available data on different aspects of this scenario. Teutonic countries “The distances and times involved can be enormous, both of which reduce the likelihood of a projectile carrying signs of life from another world reaching us. Add to that the number of phenomena in space that can destroy small objects with heat or radiation, and the chance becomes even smaller. However, I estimate that each year there are about 100,000 of these “hard grains”. [ejecta met levenstekens] to land on the ground. Since there are many unknown factors, this estimate may be too high or too low, but the resources to investigate it are already there, so it seems worth it.”

The best places to look for this space dust are in Antarctica and on the sea floor. Research shows that this is mainly space dust It comes from our solar system, and a small part of extrasolar origin. The next steps would be to collect space dust in space itself, For example the use of hydrogel.

The reverse scenario is of course possible. Think of the asteroid that was about 65 million years ago Creation of Chixculub Crater in Mexico. That asteroid smashed into a life-bearing planet, dumping millions of tons of debris from the site. Some returned to Earth, others went into space. And there is a chance that there are remnants of terrestrial life on it, which has spread across space. sources; University of TokyoScientificAmerican, UniverseToday, NASA/ESA

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