COUNCIL CHRONICLE – The iconic white cliffs of the British town of Dover might be more important than believed as new research reveals to have found space in them. These fossilized remains of cosmic dust might be useful in learning more about the early solar system, and in advancing the prospects for future space travel.
White Cliffs of Dover, Already an Important Source of Information
Imperial College London researchers are behind this latest discovery. Martin Suttle, the lead author, pointed out that the cliffs were already a significant source of information. The white cliffs are the source of numerous fossilized creatures, ones which can help scientists determine the many changes undergone by the planet.
“It is so exciting because we’ve now discovered that fossilised space dust is entombed alongside these creatures, which can also provide us with information about what was happening in our solar system at the time,” continued Suttle.
As part of their study, the team also found a way of establishing if this space dust was also clay-rich. Scientists see this as being a sort of “cosmic diving rod”.
This is because clay can only form where there is water. Determining the clay content in solar dust can then try and help establish the existence of water-rich asteroids in the solar system. These might later be allegedly used as a water source in future space missions.
The study team considers that studying the cosmic dust particles that landed on Earth might “ultimately be used to trace” the location of such water-rich asteroids. They might allegedly be a good tool in “mapping this resource”.
This is not the first discovery of cosmic dust on Earth, as some were discovered in some 2.7 billion years old rocks. However, only well-preserved one can be studied.
Thanks to this latest find, researchers consider that they can study and try and understand cosmic events that took place even 98 million years ago.
The white cliffs of Dover stretch over eight miles and form part of the coastline facing France and the Strait of Dover. Their iconic appearance is given by their chalk and black flint composition.
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