Can dust collect on items in space like they do on Earth? Would an old abandoned section of a space station have soot covered walls?

38 views

Can dust collect on items in space like they do on Earth? Would an old abandoned section of a space station have soot covered walls?

In: 405

Yes, because it’s mostly dead skin cells. Dust is attracted to surfaces by electrostatic forces, which is why Swiffering and dusting work—they attract it more strongly.

there are tiny particles in space and do collide with orbiting objects these suffer from orbital drag as the impacts and the tiny amount of atmosphere slow them down. This means that unless orbiting objects are fairly regularly boosted into a higher object they will fall back down to Earth, so before they can get “soot covered” they will be crashing back down to Earth.

That was actually a plot point in the movie Sunshine. They find an abandoned spaceship and there is dust covering everything. Someone asked “how can there be dust?” and someone else answered (something like) “80% of dust is human skin.”

Probes have shown that asteroids are coated in dust, so over a long enough time so would the exterior of a space station

Absolutely it would, they have to clean the ISS regularly to remove such, in space the physics are different and it’s a very different environment but dirt is dirt and dust is dust, it will eventually collect or land on some surface or another. Planets were made of a collection of mass dirt/dust/minerals ect at some point during it’s creation

When you sit in your house right now dust falls on flat surfaces because of gravity. This happens in space too. Anything that exists exerts gravity and will pull other things (dust or anything else) towards itself.

There is also one other thing at work too. Electricity. This works the same way that you can rub a balloon and then stick it to yourself. Same thing happens to small dust particles. Any particle that has a charge relative to you will be attracted to you and will stick to you.

I can’t find an article about it for some reason, but the outside of the ISS is covered with rocket exhaust residue. It is quite noticeable in some spots, too.