Back in 1969, the southeastern of Australia witnessed a meteorite crash in a fireball. The space object brought scientists an intriguing element to study. The meteorite contained the most ancient element ever identified on our planet, stardust that outranked the creation of our solar system by billions of years, according to recent research.
The eldest of 40 small dust particles caught inside the meteorite parts recovered close to the town of Murchison in Victoria are from almost seven billion years ago. In other words, they’re also nearly 2.5 billion years before the Sun, our planet, and the rest of our solar system developed, according to researchers.
Moreover, all the particles examined in the study appeared before the solar system’s creation, dubbed “pre-solar grains,” with approximately 60 % of them somewhere between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years old. The oldest, though, is said to be more than 5.6 billion years ago.
“They’re solid samples of stars, real stardust,” stated Philipp Heck from Chicago’s Field Museum.
The Most Ancient Element on Earth Discovered Inside a Meteorite
When the first stars perished after almost two billion years of development, they left after the stardust, which appeared to the block that collapsed to Earth as the space object in Australia. The discovery was “extremely exciting,” according to Heck.
Even if scientists first discovered the grains back in 1987, their age could not be concluded. But Heck and his team utilized an innovative approach recently to set the grains’ period. The particles are from something called silicon carbide, also known as the first mineral that resurfaces when a star freezes. To divide the old grains from the comparatively new ones, researchers turned some parts of the meteorite into a powder.
Later, they dissolved it in acid, which remained only the pre-solar particles. As Heck explained: “We basically came to the conclusion that there must have been a time in our galaxy when more stars formed than normal, and at the end of their lives they become dust producing.”