A 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite was found in an ancient horseshoe trail carved in a field in Gloucester, a rural area in southwest England. The space rock is small, but it could help reveal the origins of life on Earth.
The meteorite in the UK comes from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which formed early in the history of the solar system.
The space rock was discovered by Derek Robson of the Eastern Astrophysical Research Organization in March of this year. Since then, it has been analyzed in partnership with scientists at Loughborough University.
The goal is to discover the details of its structure and composition. The carbonaceous chondrite family of meteorites generally contains organic compounds that are found in all living things. That is why it is so important to find and study these stones.
“We have a rare opportunity to examine a piece of our primitive past,” said Shaun Fowler, an expert in optical and electron microscopy at Loughborough University.
How is the study of the meteorite going?
Researchers use technology Electron microscope On very small scales, it is smaller than a strand of hair: a micron (one thousandth of a millimeter) and nm. This technique uses electron beams to provide detailed images of the analyzed object.
In addition, scientists use seismic spectroscopy (involving radiation) and diffraction (the ability of waves to diffract) X-rays, which are able to provide information on chemical composition, molecular interactions, and others, to determine the structure and composition of a meteorite.
“The composition is unlike anything you find here on Earth, and probably not like any other meteorite we’ve encountered — it probably has some chemical or physical composition unknown before in other recorded meteorite samples,” Fowler said.
* With information from the “Live Science” website.
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