Friday 24 January 2020

Stardust billions of years older than Earth found on meteorite

A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain, about 8 micrometers in its longest dimension, from a meteorite that crashed into Australia in 1969. Photo: Janaina N. Avila/Handout via REUTERS
A scanning electron micrograph of a presolar silicon carbide grain, about 8 micrometers in its longest dimension, from a meteorite that crashed into Australia in 1969. Photo: Janaina N. Avila/Handout via REUTERS

Sarah Knapton

The oldest thing ever found on Earth has been discovered by scientists - and it is more than two billion years older than our planet.

Tiny specks of stardust dating back seven billion years have been uncovered in a meteorite that landed in Victoria, Australia, in 1969.

Known as the Murchison Meteorite, it contains a mix of material from when our solar system was forming, as well as star-building dust from far earlier.

Dr Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, said: "These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy. They're solid samples of stars, real stardust."

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Some bits of stardust become trapped in meteorites, where they remained unchanged for billions of years.

Telegraph.co.uk

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