Scientists said on Monday that a meteorite that crashed in a fireball in rural igneous Australia in 1969 was the oldest material found on Earth, which was today billions of years before our solar system formed.
Researchers said the oldest 40 small dust grains were received around the city of Murchison in the state of Victoria, about 7 billion years ago, about 2.5 billion years before the sun, earth and our solar system formed.
In fact, all the dust spills analyzed in the research came from before the construction of the solar system – thus known as “anchoring grains” – between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years from 60% and the oldest 10%. Dating back more than 5.6 billion years ago.
The first dating of the Stardust solar system represented the time capsule. Age distributions of dust – many grains were concentrated at particular time intervals, provide clues about the rate of star formation in the Milky Way galaxy, the researchers said, hinting at bursts of stellar births rather than constant rates.
“I find it extremely exciting,” said Philip Heck, an associate curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, who led the research published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Despite working on Murchison meteorites and anchoring grains for nearly 20 years, I’m still fascinated that we can study the history of our galaxy with a rock,” said Heck.
The grains are small, ranging in size from 2 to 30 micrometers. A micrometer is one thousandth of a millimeter or about 0.000039 of an inch.
The material extracted from the stars has a Stardust form and is carried by stellar winds, which fly into interstellar space. During the birth of the solar system, this dust was included in everything including the planets and the sun, but until now only remains in asteroids and comets.
Researchers traced small pieces inside the meteorite by crushing the pieces of rock and then separating the constituent parts and mixing them into a paste, which they described as smelling like rotten peanut butter.