Much of the particles that surround Saturn come from active jets on the surface of its moon Enceladus. But NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was able to nab a few microscopic grains with much stranger origins.
Using a specialized facility at the Ames research center, NASA scientists have successfully recreated the cosmic grains that permeate the galaxy and form all planets. Perhaps surprisingly, star-stuff is actually quite complicated.
See that reddish cloud inside this supernova's shockwave? It's a massive plume of dust that formed shortly after the star ripped itself to shreds. The observation was made using the the brand new ALMA telescope — and it's one that will help explain how galaxies got their dusty and dim complexion.