NASA Recreates Cosmic Dust in a Lab

Recently NASA scientists have managed to recreate dust particles that are strikingly to that of those found in outer space in the exterior layers of stars that are dying. Researchers at the ASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, have managed to recreate the processes that happen in the atmosphere that lead to the formation of interstellar dust.

 They have used a expert facility called the Cosmic Simulation Chamber (COSmIC). This was developed and visualized at Ames and this enabled scientists to recreate and conduct this study in a laboratory.

If you’re wondering what scientists plan to achieve from recreating this stellar dust; they want to gather as much information as they can about the composition and evolution of the universe. Cosmic dust grains that form around dying stars are expelled into the interstellar medium lead, they make up the very component of the evolution of the universe.

“The harsh conditions of space are extremely difficult to reproduce in the laboratory, and have long hindered efforts to interpret and analyse observations from space,” said Farid Salama, project leader and a space science researcher at Ames. She went on to say, “Using the COSmIC simulator we can now discover clues to questions about the composition and the evolution of the universe, both major objectives of NASA’s space research programme.”

The team of researchers initiated the process with small hydrocarbon molecules. They lengthened these with a cold jet spray in the Cosmic Simulation Chamber and further exposed it to high energy in an electric discharge. During the experiment they were able to notice nanoparticles and measured they width, structure and diameter. They did this sampling for a large size of the grains produced.

The results of these experiments have important implications not just for the study of astrophysics but even for planetary sciences. This will help understand the composition and formation of planets and the dust around the stars.

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