Can you collect meteorite dust in your backyard? How?
February 27, 2013 9:10 AM Subscribe
I've been told recently that collecting micrometeorites is as easy, basically, as placing a clean surface outside and picking through the debris you collect because thousands of tons of space dust and debris fall to Earth every day. That can't be all there is to it, can it? How do you know whether you're looking at Earth dust or space dust?
posted by Sleeper to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
After the recent flyby of 2012DA14 and the coincidental meteorite strike in Russia, I've become interested in meteorites. I've read a little about astronomy and I've talked to the guy who runs the local observatory. He says it's possible to collect meteorite dust in your own backyard.
According to him and according to some of
the things I read, you basically just put something like a cookie sheet outside for a week or three to catch any crud that lands in it. Then you run a magnet through it and carefully examine with a microscope the bits of dust and whatnot for things that look like this.
But the astronomer I talked to also said that most space debris is not metallic, so I conclude the magnet would be useless for most of what you'd catch. Also, how the heck could you tell whether you were looking at dust and debris from the Earth or from beyond?
Does this method