Meteorite, Older than the Sun, Found in Canada

Posted on February 7, 2007  Comments (2)

Older than the sun, the meteorite scientists call ‘the real time machine’

The Tagish Lake meteorite was already regarded as exceptional because its mineral composition linked it to the earliest days of the formation of the solar system, more than 4.5bn years ago. The fragments of meteorite that still exist are among the most pristine in the world, as they were protected from contamination when they became wedged in blocks of lake ice. The latest research shows that peppered throughout the meteorite are grains that formed even earlier, in a frigid cloud of molecules, possibly at the edge of the swirling disc of dust that ultimately collapsed to form the sun and all the planets of the solar system.

The discovery suggests that while the first light from the sun fell on the fledgling Earth, as the dinosaurs rose and died out and humans gained dominance, the meteorite was hurtling around the heavens on a billions-of-years-long journey destined to terminate with a thud in Yukon territory. Researchers at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston examined a two gram fragment of the meteorite and focused on tiny, hollow, carbon spheres embedded within it. Each “globule” measured just a few thousandths of a millimetre across.

Interesting stuff.

Related: The Tagish Lake Meteorite (NASA)Meteorite yields life origin clue

2 Responses to “Meteorite, Older than the Sun, Found in Canada”

  1. CuriousCat: Antarctica’s Unique Meteorites
    March 14th, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

    “Dr Shearer agreed the 4.5-billion-year ages of the meteorites indicated the likely source was an asteroid”

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog » Canadian Meteorite Fragments Found
    December 2nd, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    “Planetary scientist Dr. Alan Hildebrand from the University of Calgary and graduate student Ellen Milley brought reporters to a site where they have found numerous meteorite fragments from the bolide that streaked across the sky in Western Canada…”

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