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A small piece of rock was found in a field in Gloucestershire, western England, which scientists have confirmed to be an ancient meteorite.
Scientists estimate the age of the meteorite at 4.6 billion years, making it the oldest meteorite found on Earth today. Note that the age of the planet itself is 4.54 billion years, according to “Sputnik”. Scientists say this small rock, found by Derek Robson, a resident of Loughborough and an employee of the East Anglia Astrophysical Research Organization (EAARO), is a piece of space debris left behind after the planets of the solar system formed.
It is believed to have reached Earth from the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Researchers from Loughborough University, along with colleagues from Iaro, are studying the structure and composition of the meteorite, which is named Winchcombe after the village near where it was found. Scientists hope to find answers to questions about processes that took place in the early solar system, and perhaps about the origin of Earth and life on it. Scientists use techniques such as electron microscopy to study surface morphology at the micron and nanometer scales, as well as seismic spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, which provide detailed information about the crystal structure, chemical phases and molecular interactions of the material. The meteor material is similar to weakly bonded concrete and consists of particles and dust, which 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, porous and cracked,” study co-author Sean Fowler, an optical and electron microscopy specialist at Loughborough University’s Center for the Study of Materials, said in a press release. This is a rare opportunity to discover a piece of our pristine past.”
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