Science

Oldest material known to exist on Earth discovered

Oldest material known to exist on Earth discovered”

Researchers have found grains that are between 5 and 7 billion years old, older than our solar system, which formed about 4.6 billion years ago.

"They're solid samples of stars, exact stardust", acknowledged lead writer Philipp Heck, a curator at Chicago's Self-discipline Museum and affiliate professor at the College of Chicago.

When presolar grains form on the death of a star, they reveal the story of the star.

The stardust trapped in meteorites remain unchanged for billions of years, making them time capsules of the time before the solar system.

One hundred and one of the largest discovered presolar grains could fit in the period, according to a release by the Field Museum in Chicago.

One meteorite that is known to contain presolar grains is the Murchison meteorite, a large, over 100 kilogram (220 pound) chunk of space rock that exploded in the sky over Murchison, Australia in September 1969, scattering its fragments all over the place.

"As soon as all of the objects are segregated, or no longer it is some distance a roughly paste, and it has a pungent characteristic - it smells adore injurious peanut butter". That's why the discovery of the presolar grains is such a rarity - only 5% of meteorites found on Earth contain them.

"It's like burning down the haystack to find the needle", said Heck.

Once the presolar grains were isolated, the researchers figured out from what types of stars they came and how old they were by measuring their exposure to cosmic rays.

"We used exposure age data, which basically measures their exposure to cosmic rays, which are high-energy particles that fly through our galaxy and penetrate solid matter", said Heck.

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Primarily essentially based on what number of cosmic rays had interacted with the grains, most wanted to be 4.6-4.9 billion years dilapidated. "And the more they are exposed, the more these elements form".

The researchers found that the ages of the silicon carbide grains they studied ranged from roughly the age of the sun to about three billion years older. It's also essential to mention the fact that our Sun is 4.6 billion years old, and our planet is 4.5 billion years old.

The unusual concentration of grains of about the same age suggests a "baby boom" of stars, Heck said.

Since presolar grains are formed when a star dies, they can tell us about the history of stars, they said.

"We have more young grains than we expected", he added.

"Some people think that the star formation rate of the galaxy is constant". With star dust, we can trace this material to the time before the sun. Stardust is the remnant material left behind after the death of a star in a supernova.

Nonetheless, the oldest yielded a date of around 7.5 billion years dilapidated.

"With this study we are just starting this journey of exploring the history of the galaxy with meteorites", Heck says.

The tiny granules of star dust, lost by the ancient stars when they expire, reveal clues to the formation of stars in the Milky Way. The age distribution of the dust - numerous grains were concentrated at particular time intervals - provided clues about the rate of star formation in the Milky Way galaxy, the researchers said, hinting at bursts of stellar births rather than a constant rate.

When small to medium stars (from about 0.5 to 5 times the mass of the Sun) approach the ends of their lives, they expand into red giant stars and blow off their outer layers. Billions of years later, a chunk of that asteroid crashed into Australia.



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