Wednesday, 03 June, 2020


Meteorite that hit Australia contains oldest material ever found on Earth: Scientists

Seven-billion-year-old stardust in meteorite ‘oldest solid material found Meteorite that hit Australia contains oldest material ever found on Earth: Scientists
Kristine Garrett | 14 January, 2020, 16:13

"These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us how the stars formed in our galaxy", said Heck.

These presolar particles were forged before the Sun was formed in environments with completely different chemical compositions.

The teensy tiny microscopic grains of dust were forged in a distant star somewhere between 5 and 7 billion years ago, according to new research. (100 kilograms) rock that fell on September 28, 1969, near Murchison, Victoria, in Australia.

In order to date the stardust, fragments of meteorite were crushed down into a paste, which the scientists said had an unpleasant smell "like rotten peanut butter".

This whiffy paste modified into as soon as then dissolved in acid, leaving only the stardust.

"I always compare it to burning down the haystack to find the needle", Heck said. "By measuring how many of this new cosmic-ray produced elements are present in a presolar grain, we can tell how long it was exposed to cosmic rays, which tells us how old it is".

To date the material, the researchers used a unique technique to measure the effects of cosmic rays hitting the grains.

Some of these rays interact with the matter they encounter and form new elements. So the longer a sample is exposed, the more secondary elements are formed.

Researchers said Monday that new techniques have allowed them to identify the oldest solid material ever found on earth. The majority were 4.6 billion to 4.9 billion years old - not as extreme but still hundreds of millions of years older than the solar system.

Stardust grains were dragged into the Murchison meteorite as it traveled through space in its eventual collision course with Earth. In the stone the alleged "presolar grains" could travel through area for huge amounts of many years and finally wind up on the planet.

Most of the grains in the Murchison meteorite came from various stars that formed around the same time. "Here is considered one of many key findings of our take into story", acknowledged Dr Heck. "The discovery showed that the 5-7 billion years ago our galaxy was rapid star formation", - said the author of the work of Philip heck.

In other words, he added, "there was a time before the start of the solar system when more stars formed than normal".

"Some people think that the star formation rate of the galaxy is constant", he said. He explained there were problems when researchers had initially tried to age the dust and that his team has been working on the samples for over 10 years. "Stardust is the oldest material to reach Earth, and from it, we can learn about our parent stars, the origins of the carbon in our bodies, the origin of the oxygen we breathe".

However, other dating techniques, such as comparing the isotope ratios left behind by decaying radioactive materials, can not yet be used to provide an absolute date for these ancient dust grains.

Stars form when clouds of dust collapse and heat up.

These pieces of star dust eventually form new stars, as well as new planets, moons and meteorites.

This large number of younger grains was unexpected, revealing a surprise about the history of the Milky Way galaxy. "It has died down long before the sun formed 4.6 billion years ago".

The stars the dust came from were about 1.6 to 1.9 times as massive as the sun and are known as low-to intermediate mass asymptotic giant branch stars, Heck said. "The awesome thing is we have a rock in our collection that we just take out of the cabinet and learn something about the history of our galaxy".

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