Cosmic dust

In principle, if we know the total lightning current, we can calculate the amount of the atoms of the different elements formed in the ionosphere in one year. The difficulties are brought about by the hydrogen and helium-3, which immediately after their formation join 95,000 more tons of hydrogen and 1,600 more tons of helium. They leave the Earth every year due to faults in the terrestrial crust. Nevertheless, the visual idea of the volume of this activity is possible and this will happen with the help of the “cosmic dust”.

The scientists from the Institute of Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences have calculated that 400 to 1,000 tons of cosmic dust fall on the Earth for a period of 24 hours. It is unclear why no one of them has thought about the paradoxicality of this assertion. Ultimately, astronomers know that all specks of dust coming from space burn in the Earth’s atmosphere as early as at a height of 55 – 120 km. It turns out that there are two types of dust in space: one of them burns out, and the other one lays on the ground like Christmas snow. The extent to which this opinion has taken roots in the scientific circles is shown by Arthur Clarke. In his novel “A Fall of Moondust” all moon seas are filled with fine dust. This thought was a real nightmare for the creators of the first “Moonwalker”, too. Fortunately for them, it turned out that practically there is no dust on the Moon.

It could not have been otherwise, as the place of birth of this dust, which inappropriately received the status “cosmic”, is the Earth’s ionosphere. The carbon atoms immediately after their formation commence a reaction with the oxygen and settle in the form of radioactive СО2 towards the surface of the planet. The leaves of the green plants absorb it, and the radioactive 14С gets into all living organisms. The ions of iron, magnesium and silicon, turned into atoms, stick together into specks of dust and settle down. The wind picks them up and drifts them away into the ocean. They accumulate in the depressions on the bottom and under the pressure of the water and the heat of the mantle they turn into yet another scientific mystery – iron-manganese concretions. Except on Earth, this dust can be found on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, i.e. where due to the presence of the magnetic field there is a constant, ongoing process of conversion of the charged particles into atoms.

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