Sources and inventory of cosmic dust: From space to the Earth’s surface

Cosmic dust
Matthias van Ginneken
Start Date
End Date

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Cosmic dust represents the largest contribution to the flux of extraterrestrial matter reaching the Earth’s surface every year, with tens of thousands of tons compared to tens of tons for meteorites. Cosmic dust includes Interplanetary Dust Particles, which range from a few micrometres to about 50 micrometres in size and are usually recovered directly from the atmosphere, and micrometeorites, which range from a few tens of micrometres to 2 millimetres and are mainly sampled at ground level.

Over the last few decades, research groups have specialized in the study of micrometeorites, aiming to constrain the nature and origin of micrometeorites and their flux. To achieve this, micrometeorites have been sampled from a variety of environments, from direct sampling in the air to the glacially eroded top of nunataks in Antarctica. More recently, micrometeorite collections were successfully established after sampling roofs and gutters in urban areas, greatly expanding potential sampling sites.

Important questions pertaining to the nature and flux of micrometeorites still need to be answered, such as how representative of the flux are the various micrometeorite collections established so far; the contribution of cometary versus asteroidal matter in micrometeorite collections; the provenance of abnormal micrometeorites and their relationship to other extraterrestrial materials; the link between micrometeorites and meteorites and material from return missions to asteroids.

During this meeting, we aim to review the current state of new and existing micrometeorite collections and to establish a big picture of the current research being conducted on micrometeorites, and by extension cosmic dust.

We also invite discussion of the following topics (but not limited to): introduction of new collections; statistical studies to determine the flux, be it modern or past; geochemistry of micrometeorites to characterize parentage with other extraterrestrial material like meteorites or comets.

Abstract submission:   (Deadline: Friday January 28th 2022)

Dr. Matthias van Ginneken (University of Kent)

Dr. Martin D. Suttle (NHM)

Dr. Penny Wozniakiewicz (University of Kent)

Dr. Matthew J. Genge (Imperial College)


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