Cosmic Dust Is Everywhere, and There Might Be Some on You

Nearly 60 tons of cosmic dust fall on Earth every single day, but where does it come from?

Space is a very old and dusty place.  And that’s because our solar system began as a big dust cloud billions of years ago. Gravity eventually pulled all these dust particles together to create comets and planets. But gravity didn’t clean everything up. There’s still a lot of cosmic dust floating out there, residing in the space between stars. And, some of it is probably right next to you.

Cosmic dust are specs of material, about 0.01 millimeters in size. But good things come in small packages. These microscopic bits are made up of carbon, iron, oxygen, silicon, and magnesium. Those elements sound familiar right? They’re the raw materials that the planets in our solar system are made of, and us humans. There's so much of it swirling around, that nearly 60 tons of the stuff fall on Earth every single day.  But to enter the Earth’s atmosphere, the dust particles use bubbles as parachutes, preventing them from burning up upon entry. We can find bits of cosmic dust everywhere, on city rooftops, in Antarctica, and on the cliffs of dover. And these extraterrestrial particles can tell us a lot about the history of our solar system. So here on earth, you’re probably no more than a few feet away from a piece of space.