Sunday, November 28

A recent study: Cosmic dust may be a major source of phosphorous on Earth

Cosmic dust is a type of dust found in outer space.

Cosmic dust is a type of dust found in outer space, and it consists of particles consisting of several particles and grains with dimensions of 0.1 millimeter. between the planets.

The American Geophysical Union websiteThe American Geophysical Union) – On November 17 this year – a press release about a study conducted by a team of Union scientists in which researchers suggest that cosmic dust may be an important source of phosphorous for life on Earth.

According to a previous study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh (University of Edinburgh) – published by the Journal of Space Biology in 2017, researchers believe that cosmic dust and the minute particles it contains carry the seeds of life to Earth and to other distant planets.

According to the press release, sunlight reflects off tiny interplanetary dust particles, creating a faint column of glowing light visible against the stars.

When small molecules enter Earth’s atmosphere, a newly described series of chemical reactions may produce phosphorous-containing molecules that are essential for biological processes.

Thus, when the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, any phosphorous that was present likely sank into the molten core due to the special chemical properties of the element phosphorous, which is necessary for life, which is found in DNA and RNA. (RNA) and other important biological molecules.

It is therefore possible that the phosphorous that made life possible came to Earth’s surface from extraterrestrial origins, and previous studies have suggested meteorites as possible sources.

When cosmic dust enters the atmosphere, it enters into reactions that produce phosphorous (Getty Images)

Cosmic dust is an important source of phosphorous

But the scientific team of the Geophysical Union presented a new analysis indicating that cosmic dust particles may transfer phosphorous to the Earth’s atmosphere, where a series of chemical reactions reassemble the element into biologically useful forms of phosphate that eventually settle on the Earth’s surface.

When cosmic dust enters the atmosphere, air friction causes cosmic dust to undergo a process of vaporization and melting known as ablation.

The team came up with this analysis based on previous studies, in which meteorite fragments the size of cosmic dust were heated to simulate this eradication process, in which the release of particles containing phosphorous was detected.

The computational modeling of this process provided further support for cosmic dust as an important source of phosphorous on the Earth’s surface.

In the process of this new research study, the researchers created a network of chemical reactions that outline the process by which cosmic dust and biologically beneficial phosphorous particles can be produced.

To do this, they combined real-world results from laboratory studies of chemical reactions with theoretical predictions of reactions not studied in the laboratory, and then the researchers combined the reaction network into a global climate model.

The reaction network and model simulations also provide new support for cosmic dust ablation and subsequent chemical reactions as a source of biologically useful forms of phosphorous, as these particles are incorporated into minute “meteorite smoke” particles that settle on the Earth’s surface.

Suggestions and predictions

In this new study, the authors suggest that the particles could be an important and continuing source of phosphorous for life on Earth.

In addition, researchers predict which regions annually might receive the largest amount of phosphorous carried by cosmic dust, particularly the northern Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas, and the southern Andes.

They also expect that the narrow layer of the atmosphere, which contains particles of phosphorous, may surround the Earth at an altitude of 90 kilometers above its surface.

Future research can confirm the existence of the expected layer, and researchers can also explore the potential role of phosphorous from cosmic dust during the rise of life on Earth, when limited amounts of phosphorus could have restricted biological activity.

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