Researchers from Loughborough University, along with colleagues from EAARO, have found the oldest meteorite that is older than Earth.
Scientists have estimated the age of the find at 4.6 billion years, while the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years. It is the oldest meteorite found on Earth today. The meteorite was named Winchcombe after the village near which it was found.
In order to study the find, the authors used electron microscopy, vibrational spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction: this will give detailed information about the crystal structure, chemical phases and molecular interactions of the substance.
According to the authors, the meteorite consists of particles and dust that have never been subjected to strong cosmic collisions, that is, they did not participate in the formation of protoplanetary bodies.
The internal structure is brittle and loosely bound, porous and cracked. It does not appear to have undergone thermal metamorphism. This means that he was there, beyond Mars, untouched before any of the planets were created. This is a rare opportunity to explore a piece of our pristine past.
Sean Fowler, Optical and Electron Microscopy Specialist, Loughborough University Materials Research Center
The ancient meteorite is a rare example of carbonaceous chondrite – a space rock with organic material.
The authors believe that studying a meteorite that existed in the period before the birth of life on Earth will help to understand the causes and chemistry of this process.