According to the statement released by NASA on November 20, a team of scientists has been able to discover "bio-essential" sugars in the meteorites, which consists of other biologically important compounds. All together, some 100 kilograms of the Murchison meteorite were recovered and sent to scientific institutions around the world.
"It begins with crushing fragments of the meteorite down correct into a powder", acknowledged co-writer Jennika Greer, from the Self-discipline Museum and the College of Chicago. There was also no known process within our solar system that could have led to their formation.
Known as presolar grains, meteorites are known to contain such grains of material that can predate the Solar System.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, now took a closer look at them. 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.
Numerous grains recovered were between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years old, while others were older than 5.5 billion years.
This article is based on text provided by the Field Museum of Natural History.
Instead the researchers measured how long the grains have been exposed to the cosmic rays shooting through the universe.
The oldest grains were dated to more than 5.5bn years ago, long before the sun formed 4.6bn years ago.
Of the 40 grains the researchers examined, the most ancient, at 7 billion years old, are 2.5 billion years older than Earth.
The star dust represented time capsules in front of the solar system.
"It's like burning down the haystack to find the needle", said Heck. The new study is evidence of the latter.
"We have more young grains than we expected", Heck said. And the more they are exposed, the more these elements are formed. "But rarely there is an interaction, [and] one of those protons can hit an atom in the grain".
Citation: "Lifetimes of interstellar dust from cosmic ray exposure ages of presolar silicon carbide." .
By counting all the fragments produced by the cosmic rays, and knowing how often they are produced, scientists can work out how old the stardust is.
Scanning electron micrograph of a dated presolar silicon carbide grain. Inset: SiC grain with ~8 micrometers in its longest dimension. The higher a grain's neon-21 concentration, the longer it must have drifted in space before being embedded in a hunk of space rock during the solar system's formation 4.6.
"I compare this with putting out a bucket in a rainstorm". Back then, the tools scientists used to analyse these grains weren't as advanced as they are now, so Heck and his team made a decision to submit the grains to the full gamut of tests. With star dust, we can trace this material to the time before the sun. So it's a hard estimate. This in flip informs them how dilapidated it is some distance. Most of the grains had to be 4.6 to 4.9 billion years old, and some grains were even older than 5.5 billion years.
"We basically came to the conclusion that there must have been a time in our galaxy when more stars formed than normal, and at the end of their lives they become dust producing", Heck told AFP. Since presolar grains are formed when a star dies, they can tell us about the history of stars. Billions of years later, a chunk of that asteroid crashed into Australia.
Scientists have found in a bit of meteorite the earliest product previously entirely on earth. The samples came from the famous Murchison meteorite, which fell to Earth in Australia in 1969. The researchers in their paper explained, "Presolar grains are the oldest datable solid samples available and provide invaluable insight into the presolar chronology of our galaxy". "Stardust is the oldest material to reach Earth, and from it, we can learn about our parent stars, the origins of the carbon in our bodies, the origin of the oxygen we breathe".