According to a study published this week in the Journal Science, NASA has discovered traces of Interstellar ‘Alien’ dust speeding at a staggering rate of 45,000 mph through our Solar System.
According to new reports, NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft has detected strange interstellar ‘alien’ dust which moves in different directions at incredibly high speeds through our solar system. So far the discovery is unlike anything previously detected in that region and cannot be compared to the dust found on planets like Mars indicating it originated in deep space.
The research of the study is published this week in the Journal Science.
According to studies, the microscopic particles are traveling at a staggering rate of 45,000 mph, a speed so fast that dust can substantially avoid being trapped by our Sun’s gravity.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been studying Saturn and its moons since 2004. The spacecraft has taken samples of millions of grains of dust rich in ice. The vast majority of the samples originate from the surface of Enceladus, a geologically active moon which according to many researchers, could hold the necessary ingredients for life since it holds a global ocean and jets that spray dust into space.
“We’re thrilled Cassini could make this detection, given that our instrument was designed primarily to measure dust from within the Saturn system, as well as all the other demands on the spacecraft,” said Marcia Burton, a Cassini fields and particles scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a co-author of the paper.
Thanks to Cassini’s onboard instruments, its cosmic dust analyzer was able to sample millions of ice-rich dust grains and discover something amazing.
From the countless particles analyzed, 36 have mysterious qualities which have led researchers to conclude that the dust must have originated from outside our solar system in interstellar space (the void located between stars) and far beyond the orbit of Pluto.
After a thorough analysis, scientists concluded that the alien dust grains were made of minerals.
This study can help researchers understand more about the creation of the universe and how it has evolved through time.
Nicolas Altobelli, Cassini project scientist at the European Space Agency, said: “From that discovery, we always hoped we would be able to detect these interstellar interlopers at Saturn with Cassini. We knew that if we looked in the right direction, we should find them.”
“The long duration of the Cassini mission has enabled us to use it like a micrometeorite observatory, providing us privileged access to the contribution of dust from outside our solar system that could not have been obtained in any other way,” added Altobelli.
Frank Postberg of the University of Heidelberg, a co-author of the paper and co-investigator of Cassini’s dust analyzer said: “Cosmic dust is produced when stars die, but with the vast range of types of stars in the universe, we naturally expected to encounter a huge range of dust types over the long period of our study.”