Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Stardust billions of years older than Earth found on meteorite

Stardust billions of years older than Earth found on meteorite

Scientists looking at a meteorite believe they have discovered the oldest material known to exist on Earth.

While it's actually not unheard of for meteorites to contain grains of material that predate the Solar System - they're called "presolar grains" - they are rare, and hard to identify because the bits of material are so small, and deeply embedded in the rock. This in turn acts as a food, helping to create new stars. These "pre-describe voltaic grains" then receive integrated into novel stars, planets, moons and meteorites. Abreu, who was not involved with this study, added: "You're counting a signature that's incredibly tiny, of a gas".

"They´re solid samples of stars, real stardust", Heck said in a statement.

But presolar grains are very rare, found only in about 5% of meteorites that have fallen to Earth.

Philipp Heck, a meteor curator at the Field Museum in Chicago who has a piece of the meteorite in his collection, examined the presolar grains.

"I've never smelled rotten peanut butter", Heck told Live Science.

To work out how old the grains were, the researchers measured how long they had been exposed to cosmic rays in space.

"Some of these cosmic rays interact with the matter and form new elements". "Most of them, they just fly through the solid grain".

"I compare this with putting out a bucket in a rainstorm".

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The oldest grains were dated to more than 7 billion years ago, while numerous grains extracted were between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years old. A new analysis of the meteorite revealed stardust that formed between five to seven billion years ago. "Our hypothesis is that most of those beans ... were formed in an episode of enhanced star formation". The dust grains analyzed in the research were formed before the solar system's formation which is also known as "presolar grains". But they offer astronomers insight into how stars formed in the early stages of our galaxy. Since presolar grains are formed when a star dies, they can tell us about the history of stars.

Scientists have developed a method to determine stardust's age. It's so exciting to watch the story of our galaxy. With star dust, we can trace this material to the time before the sun. "There was a time before the solar system started when more stars formed than normal".

The grains are small and measure 2 to 30 microns.

A new study of the presolar grains found on the Murchison meteorite was published yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Previously, the oldest pre-solar grain dated with neon isotopes was around 5.5 billion years old.

In the stone the alleged "presolar grains" could travel through area for huge amounts of many years and finally wind up on the planet. These rays are high-energy particles that travel through our galaxy and penetrate solid matter. "And the more they are exposed, the more these elements form". Last year, researchers found a new mineral from the Wedderburn meteorite that was found in Australia 70 years ago.

Now he said, we need more statistics from a different meteorite. Some believe that it is constant and unchanging, while others believe that there are peaks and troughs.

This discovery supports findings by other astronomers that indicate a dramatic spike in star formation around 7 billion years ago, the researchers reported. This is one of the main conclusions of our study. "No one thought this was possible at that scale". "The stars only produce dust at the end of their lives". "We hope this will be picked up and studied so that people can use this as input for models of the whole galactic life cycle", he said.

This large number of younger grains was unexpected, revealing a surprise about the history of the Milky Way galaxy. "And when we know how many cosmic ray-produced helium and neon atoms we have, we can calculate an age, because the production rate is pretty constant over time".

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