Sep 21, 2017 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Space Dust Emits Electromagnetic Radiation That Can Disable The Electronic System Of The Satellites And The Spacecraft

May 03, 2017 06:34 PM EDT

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A visible-light image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a red ring of dust and debris that surrounds the star Fomalhaut and the newly discovered planet, Fomalhaut b, orbiting its parent star.
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images)

Space dust emits electromagnetic radiation when they encounter satellites and spacecraft while traveling through space. This radiation can completely disable the electronic system of the craft.

Popular journal Physics of Plasmas reported the activity of the space dust particle through computer simulations. They depict that the damaging electromagnetic radiation is the aftermath of the cloud of plasma that is formed from the dust particle's impact. The simulations reveal that when this plasma expands and spread into the surrounding vacuum, then electrons and the ions separate and travel maintaining different speeds. This ultimately leads to emit the radio frequency.

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According to Alex Fletcher, the lead author of the research study, when the particles travel fast, then its impact seems to create radiation. Many previous research studies also noticed this hypervelocity impact. But, so far no one was able to predict the real physical mechanism behind this, according to In other words, no suitable answer can reveal the actual mechanism of the space dust that creates radiation.

Now the current research study is an approach in verifying the previous theory of Sigrid Close, the associate professor at the Stanford University. The theory points out a hypothesis that the hypervelocity impact plasmas can be responsible for a number of satellite failures. In a word, the activity and impact of the space dust are minutely analyzed this time.

To understand the hypervelocity impact plasma, the researchers applied particle-in-cell simulation to create the model of the electromagnetic fields and the plasma simultaneously. The simulation details were equipped with a hydrocode that was earlier developed to explore the impact of solid dynamics and the fluid. This simulation finally helped to calculate the radiation created by plasma. That means the researchers tried to monitor the activity of the space dust particles and the impact.

The outcome of the research study reveals what happens when a particle approaches with high speed and hits a very hard surface. The moment a particle hits the surface, it vaporizes and simultaneously ionizes the specific target and release gas, plasma, and a cloud of space dust. Now the plasma expands and spreads into the adjacent vacuum of the space. This situation creates a state where the particles face no collision and no interaction with each other.

Now electrons existing in this collisionless plasma move faster than the larger ions. This charge separation ultimately generates the electromagnetic radiation. The researchers have opined that higher frequency is necessary for the emission of radiation than they calculated during the experiment. So ultimately the study reveals the mechanism of the space dust behind the emission of the radio waves.

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