Arrange planets by electrostatic power?

Random coverage on the ISS leads to new theory

In experiments on the international space station, scientists have "inadvertently" Discover how planets may arise. So far, the researchers ame that gas and dust particles in the vicinity of a young star are all under the influence of their own gravity together to collapse. Since the materials sugar, however, are also under the gravitational influence of the mother star and be drawn in his direction, has not yet clear, how much gross congratulations of about a meter diameter can arise, which could resist this so-called.

Dusty plasma. Giotto image of the comet Halley

A hint now gave a mistake of the plasma crystal experiment of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. In itself, plasma is the unordered state of matter in which a gas is split into positively charged ions and negative electrons. Only a few years ago, however, it was discovered that in a plasma by the addition of microparticles ordered, crystal-like state generated. This opens new perspectives to explore the physics of condensed matter and plasma physics.

On earth, due to the gravity prevailing here, only two-dimensional crystals can be produced, while in microgravity the space station, the study of three-dimensional crystals is possible. Once, however, a cosmonaut awarded to produce the plasma prior to the addition of the microparticles – and was surprised that these particles condenses into a lump within a few seconds. Actually, the scientists had expected the particles without the influence of the plasma were much long free to float around freely.

Father examinations showed that electrostatic force is responsible for this million-fold acceleration of reconciliation. Project manager Gregor E. Morfill suspects that individual particles are negatively charged during the embarrassment in the test chamber through the metal of the omneed grid. This charge accelerates the collision with other particles, but not disappears, but is passed on to other particles. A similar disclosure of electrostatic charge, so Morfill in the current ie of the magazine nature, could also accelerate the combination of matter in Protoplanetal clouds. Further experiments in the coming year should help to keep the theory further. ()

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