Flecks of Extraterrestrial Dust, All Over the Roof

Mar 13, 2017

By William J. Broad

After decades of failures and misunderstandings, scientists have solved a cosmic riddle — what happens to the tons of dust particles that hit the Earth every day but seldom if ever get discovered in the places that humans know best, like buildings and parking lots, sidewalks and park benches.

The answer? Nothing. Look harder. The tiny flecks are everywhere.

An international team found that rooftops and other cityscapes readily collect the extraterrestrial dust in ways that can ease its identification, contrary to science authorities who long pooh-poohed the idea as little more than an urban myth kept alive by amateur astronomers.

Remarkably, the leader of the discovery team — and co-author of a recent paper in Geology, a monthly journal of the Geological Society of America — turns out to be a gifted amateur who devoted himself to disproving the skeptics.

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One comment on “Flecks of Extraterrestrial Dust, All Over the Roof”

  • @OP – An international team found that rooftops and other cityscapes readily collect the extraterrestrial dust in ways that can ease its identification, contrary to science authorities who long pooh-poohed the idea as little more than an urban myth kept alive by amateur astronomers.

    I’m not sure where the notion of “science authorities” pooh-poohing the idea came from!
    It has been known for a very long time that thousands of tonnes of space dust and meteorites fall into the Earth’s atmosphere!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_dust

    Cosmic dust can also be detected directly (‘in-situ’) using a variety of collection methods and from a variety of collection locations. Estimates of the daily influx of extraterrestrial material entering the Earth’s atmosphere range between 5 and 300 tonnes.[16][17]
    The Earth-falling dust particles are collected in the Earth’s atmosphere using plate collectors under the wings of stratospheric-flying NASA airplanes and collected from surface deposits on the large Earth ice-masses (Antarctica and Greenland/the Arctic) and in deep-sea sediments.
    Don Brownlee at the University of Washington in Seattle first reliably identified the extraterrestrial nature of collected dust particles in the later 1970s.

    If new locations and collection methods have been found well and good, but let’s skip the hype and disinformation!



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