Researchers have identified a strange meteorite, different from all the meteorites previously studied. Covered in crystals and almost as big as a basketball, the meteorite is the oldest igneous meteorite ever discovered according to a recently published study.
It is estimated that approximately 4, 6 billion years ago, a giant gas and dust cloud collapsed into a disk around the young sun. From it, planets and other objects emerged, forming our solar system. The igneous process represents the cooling and solidifying process through which some rocks and even planets form. It is similar to the phenomenon occurring in a forge when hot metal cools down to and forms the object desired by the blacksmith.
At first sight, researchers were not sure if the rock was of any notable origin as the color is not very impressive. But a brief analysis showed that the specimen, named Northwest Africa 11119, found in Mauritania is not from Earth. Even more interesting is the fact that it is prime proof that not all asteroids look the same. While some do look similar to what we can find on Earth, it is due to a high quantity of silica.
It is believed that the rock came from a zone found in our solar systems as it was forming but it is very hard to pinpoint an exact location. It was linked by researchers to two previously found meteorites: Northwest Africa 7235 and Almahata Sitta. It is now theorized that they may come from the same source but this is the only connection they have. Besides this, the stone is unlike anything that was seen before, even though over 40,000 meteorites have been analyzed by now.
It is believed that in may play a vital role in helping scientists understand how our solar systems formed and why. It remains to be seen what we can learn from it in the future.