According to a new calculation carried out by researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Paris-Saclay, and published in the journal Earth & Planetary Science Letters, each year 5,200 tonnes of micrometeorites (interplanetary dust from comets and asteroids which give birth to shooting stars) reach the ground of the Earth.
We are talking about particles of a few tenths to hundredths of a millimeter that have passed through the atmosphere and reached the surface of the Earth.
Six expeditions in search of micrometeorites
To collect and analyze these micrometeorites, six expeditions led by CNRS researcher Jean Duprat have taken place over the past twenty years near the Franco-Italian station of Concordia (Dome C), located 1,100 kilometers off the coast of the Pays d ‘Adélie Heart of Antarctica.
It is the main source of extraterrestrial matter on our planet, far ahead of larger objects like meteorites, whose flux is less than ten tons per year.
Most micrometeorites probably come from comets (80%) and the rest from asteroids.