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Waspie_Dwarf

First Potential Interstellar Space Particles

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Stardust Team Reports Discovery of First Potential Interstellar Space Particles

Seven rare, microscopic interstellar dust particles that date to the beginnings of the solar system are among the samples collected by scientists who have been studying the payload from NASA's Stardust spacecraft since its return to Earth in 2006. If confirmed, these particles would be the first samples of contemporary interstellar dust.

A team of scientists has been combing through the spacecraft's aerogel and aluminum foil dust collectors since Stardust returned in 2006.The seven particles probably came from outside our solar system, perhaps created in a supernova explosion millions of years ago and altered by exposure to the extreme space environment.

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On a grand scale, how significant of a step is this in terms of space exploration?

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On a grand scale, how significant of a step is this in terms of space exploration?

In terms of space exploration not that significant. In terms of astronomy highly significant.

These particles give astronomers a chance to analyse material from beyond the solar system for the first time. It will help them better understand the material which formed the sun, earth and planets 4.5 billion years ago.

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Eight years is an extraordinary length of time only to find three dust particles.

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Significant find! Another milestone, and hopefully another window into the currently unreachable expanses of the universe for us....

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Eight years is an extraordinary length of time only to find three dust particles.

No, 8 years is an extraordinarily short amount of time to analyse such small samples with enough precision and accuracy to deduce that they have an interstellar origin.

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Not to minimize the discovery and the chance to examine such particles , but I would think that every particle composing the bodies in our solar system, before it's formation, had at one time existed "outside" of it ?

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Not to minimize the discovery and the chance to examine such particles , but I would think that every particle composing the bodies in our solar system, before it's formation, had at one time existed "outside" of it ?

Correct. But now we know for sure :lol: which is more important than thinking we know for sure. Science works in round-about ways.

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Posted (edited)

Not to minimize the discovery and the chance to examine such particles , but I would think that every particle composing the bodies in our solar system, before it's formation, had at one time existed "outside" of it ?

Whilst that is true, all the comets, planets, asteroids, moons and the sun were formed from the same cloud of dust and gas at the same time, hence all the material in the solar system is from the same region of space. Analysis of any solar system material can tell us a great deal about the conditions when and where the solar system was born but nothing about the rest of the galaxy.

Interstellar particles will have come from different regions of space. They may well be vastly different in age to the material that formed the solar system. Analysis of such material can tell us much, for example was the solar system formed from a typical nebula or was it unusual.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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ah.. thanks a lot Waspie, Great explanation , i understand the importance much better now .

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