Have you read His Dark Materials or seen its movie adaptation The Golden Compass? In the imaginary world created by the author Philip Pullman, dust was the most important thing – the material which connected it to ours. 

It turns out that even in real life, dust is important to worlds outside of Earth! Especially if we are trying to find out if they are habitable. We learned that dust can cool the hot surface and warm the climate of a planet, making it more suitable for life. On the other hand, larger amounts of dust can make it hard to look for such planets. And actually, if a planet does host life, dust might hide the signs of it!

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

About this article

Summary of research
Astronomers looking for habitable planets outside the Solar System discovered that dust might play an important role.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
Scientific methods
Type of figure
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
July 2020

Looking for something else?

Did you know...

… that on this day, exactly 22 years ago, the Russian module Zarya was launched into space, giving a start to assembling the International Space Station – the largest single structure humans ever put into space?

Honoring this breakthrough, we ask you to take part in our end-of-year fundraising campaign which will help us publish even more adaptations on scientific discoveries such as this article about astronomical dust. Please help us inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM field. Every little bit helps!

We aim to raise 1000$ during our month-long campaign. This is just about 30$ a day!

Can you donate at least 5$ towards that goal?

Thank you. -Tanya
 
#GivingTuesday #STEM