Depositing seeds of life
Ancient eyes watching
*I did some research on “stardust”. Here are some of the intriguing highlights that match the images. (Credits to NASA, ESA, nau.edu)
Image #1: Comet 67P
The primary goal of NASA’s Stardust mission (2004-2014) was to collect samples of Comet 67P and return them to Earth for laboratory analysis. When the international team of 200 scientists began examination of the returned particles, they found that the particles were indeed ancient building blocks of the solar system but the nature and origin of the particles was quite unexpected.
One of the most unexpected was the 2009 discovery of the amino acid glycine by a team of scientists from the Goddard Space Flight center. The significance of this discovery is that comets must have delivered at least one amino acid to our planet before it had life. Amino acids are crucial to life because they form the basis of proteins, the molecules that run cells.
Image #2: (top right) Chondrule or grain of stardust
Long before the Earth and other planets existed, the solar system consisted of a protosun and an immense, dense cloud of gases and silicate/metal dust particles. Turbulent high temperature events melted these dust balls into molten drops that quickly cooled into glass and tiny minerals.
Henry Clifton Sorby, a 19th century English geologist, recognized that these millimeter-sized spherical objects resembled “fiery drops of rain” and called them chondrules (from the Greek word, chondros or grains) and meteorites that contain them, chondrites.
Image #3: (bottom right)
Microscopic slice of a meteor (chondrite) showing spherical grains of stardust.