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Tech & Science Oldest stuff on Earth found inside meteorite that hit Australia

13:41  14 january  2020
13:41  14 january  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Stardust found inside Murchison meteorite in Victoria is oldest-known solid material on Earth

  Stardust found inside Murchison meteorite in Victoria is oldest-known solid material on Earth The oldest solid material ever found on Earth has been discovered inside a meteorite that landed near Murchison 50 years ago.This makes it the oldest solid material found on Earth the researchers said. It's even older than our Earth and the Sun, which are 4.5 and 4.6 billion years old respectively.

A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth , stardust that predated A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain, about 8 micrometers in its longest dimension, from a meteorite that crashed into

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on The oldest of 40 tiny dust grains trapped inside the meteorite fragments retrieved around the town of Murchison in Victoria state dated from about 7

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A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth, stardust that predated the formation of our solar system by billions of years, scientists said on Monday.

The oldest of 40 tiny dust grains trapped inside the meteorite fragments retrieved around the town of Murchison in Victoria state dated from about 7 billion years ago, about 2.5 billion years before the sun, Earth and rest of our solar system formed, the researchers said.

Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is A Staggering 7 Billion Years Old

  Interstellar Stardust Found Inside Australian Meteorite Is A Staggering 7 Billion Years Old A meteorite that crashed into Australia back in 1969 contains stardust dating back some 7 billion years, predating the formation of Earth by 2.5 billion years. The remarkable discovery offers a snapshot of the conditions that existed long before our solar system came into existence. Ancient grains found inside the Murchison meteorite have been dated to between 5 billion and 7 billion years old, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new paper was led by astronomer Philipp Heck from the University of Chicago.

A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth , stardust that predated A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain, about 8 micrometers in its longest dimension, from a meteorite that crashed into

A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth , stardust that predated A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain, about 8 micrometers in its longest dimension, from a meteorite that crashed into

In fact, all of the dust specks analysed in the research came from before the solar system's formation - thus known as "presolar grains" - with 60% of them between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years old and the oldest 10% dating to more than 5.6 billion years ago.

The stardust represented time capsules dating to before the solar system. The age distribution of the dust - many of the grains were concentrated at particular time intervals - provided clues about the rate of star formation in the Milky Way galaxy, the researchers said, hinting at bursts of stellar births rather than a constant rate.

a close up of food: A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain from a meteorite that crashed into Australia in 1969© Reuters/HANDOUT A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain from a meteorite that crashed into Australia in 1969

"I find this extremely exciting," said Philipp 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.

A meteor that struck Australia brought indestructible stardust more ancient than the sun. It's the oldest solid material ever found on Earth.

  A meteor that struck Australia brought indestructible stardust more ancient than the sun. It's the oldest solid material ever found on Earth. In 1969, a 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite struck Murchison, Australia. The meteorite contained fragments of stardust called presolar grains. This stardust is between between 5 billion and 7 billion years old - older than the sun and our solar system. Most of the grains in the Murchison meteorite came from various stars that formed around the same time. This suggests stars are born in bursts, rather than at a constant rate. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Meteorite fragments found in Australia appear to have brought rare, interstellar passengers to Earth: pieces of stardust older than the sun.

A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth , stardust that The oldest of 40 tiny dust grains trapped inside the meteorite fragments retrieved around the town of Murchison in Victoria state dated from about 7

A meteorite that crashed into rural southeastern Australia in a fireball in 1969 contained the oldest material ever found on Earth , stardust that predated the formation of our solar system by billions of years, scientists said on Monday. The oldest of 40 tiny dust grains trapped inside the meteorite .

"Despite having worked on the Murchison meteorite and presolar grains for almost 20 years, I still am fascinated that we can study the history of our galaxy with a rock," Heck added.

The grains are small, measuring from 2 to 30 micrometers in size. A micrometer is a one-thousandth of a millimetre or about 0.000039 of an inch.

Stardust forms in the material ejected from stars and carried by stellar winds, getting blown into interstellar space. During the solar system's birth, this dust was incorporated into everything that formed including the planets and the sun but survived intact until now only in asteroids and comets.

The researchers detected the tiny grains inside the meteorite by crushing fragments of the rock and then segregating the component parts in a paste they described as smelling like rotten peanut butter.

Scientists have developed a method to determine stardust's age. Dust grains floating through space get bombarded by high-energy particles called cosmic rays. These rays break down atoms in the grain into fragments, such as carbon into helium.

These fragments accumulate over time and their production rate is rather constant. The longer the exposure time to cosmic rays, the more fragments accumulate. The researchers counted these fragments in the laboratory, enabling them to calculate the stardust's age.

Scientists previously had found a presolar grain in the Murchison meteorite that was about 5.5 billion years old, until now the oldest-known solid material on Earth. The oldest-known minerals that formed on Earth are found in rock from Australia's Jack Hills that formed 4.4 billion years ago, 100 million years after the planet formed.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler)

New Research Casts Doubt On Theory That Volcanoes Caused Dinosaur Extinction .
Scientists have new evidence in their quest to settle the longstanding debate about whether it was a gigantic meteorite or massive volcanic eruptions that triggered the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. A curious thing about the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction is that two apocalyptic-scale events happened at roughly the same time. Some 66 million years ago, a large meteorite slammed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, creating the 200-kilometre-wide Chicxulub impact crater.

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