Home News Science&Tech Oldest material found on Earth is formed before the sun came into existence

Oldest material found on Earth is formed before the sun came into existence

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A meteorite that struck fifty years ago first like a big fireball and then in countless lumps in southeast Australia, appears to contain the oldest material ever found on earth. According to experts, this is star dust that is probably between five and seven billion years old. That is older than the earth, the sun and our solar system.

The oldest of the forty tiny dust particles found in the Murchison meteorite (named after the village where the meteorite hit in 1969) are about seven billion years old. That is 2.5 billion years before the sun, the earth and the rest of our solar system were formed.

The dust particles are miniscule small: they are each only 2 to 30 microns in size (1 micrometer is a thousandth of a millimeter). The fragments were once part of a star. When the celestial body in question died, the pieces were hurled into the universe and then spread through space through the solar wind. The granules “clumped” together and then landed on earth in a meteorite.

“I find this discovery extremely exciting,” scientist Philipp Heck from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago told the Reuters international news agency.

“Despite the fact that I have been researching the Murchison meteorite for 20 years, it is still fascinating to be able to study the history of our Milky Way.”

The findings of his research team were recently published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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