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Discovery of the oldest meteorite like the solar system

Discovery of the oldest meteorite like the solar system

Fragment of meteorite that fell to earth on February 15, 2013 in Russia. Drawing – F. Elsner / 20 minutes

Scientists have identified A meteorite The origin of the volcanic origin, as a result
Of a protoplanet Appeared in the first million years
Our solar system.

The meteorite, which formed between 4 billion and 565 million years ago, landed in southern Algeria “at least a hundred years ago” “thanks to the availability of orbits,” says Jean-Alix Bart, a geochemist at Brest University.

Cosmic billiard game

He recently signed a study Processes of the American Academy of Sciences, Dedicated to an object discovered in May 2020 by meteor hunters in an area of ​​the Sahara, named after Erk Sec 002. There are officially 43 pieces, the most important of which are “as big as a fist,” he explains. This rock, which is green and brown when cut, is, in more than one way, an “exceptional” witness to the formation of protoplanets, the nuclei of the planets that preceded the formation of our solar system. Erg Chech 002 is a rare item in more than one way. Of the approximately 65,000 meteorites listed, this is one of 4,000 types classified by their “different substance”, which is more extensive than other meteorites because it comes from a celestial body large enough to experience tectonic activity.

Of these 4,000, only 95% come from two asteroids, while the remaining 5% from Erk Sec 002 come from asteroids. Finally with a unique combination, Jean-Alix Barrett notes that “this is one of 65,000 meteorites.” Nevertheless, he believes that “such rocks were very common at the beginning of the solar system’s history.” Submits two explanations for their rarity. Protoplanets containing them have been “used for the development of other terrestrial planets such as Earth”. Others were inspired by the best cosmic billiard game of appearance, in which the surface of the moon, bookmarked with impacts, witnessed the delay. Erk Chech 002’s “parent body”, he measured probably a hundred kilometers. It was formed in the first million years of the solar system, according to calculations by co-authors of the study, Marcus Sidon of the Institute de Physique to the Globe de Paris, and CNRS researcher Johann Villanuev of the University. Lorraine.

“Planned in space”

Researchers already have knowledge of this formation, the University of Brest scientist notes, thanks to so-called metal meteorites, which “resemble the nuclei of protoplanets”. But with Erk Chech 002, this is the “first time we’ll get a glimpse of this celestial body”. To get it, it took a combination of exceptional circumstances like the object. A volcanic flow has accumulated on the surface of the parent body, triggered by the heat of the aluminum in its heart. This crust containing the future meteorite solidified for a while, but instead of disappearing by melting again, an unexpected event tore it from its parent body.

The researchers noticed that it was suddenly cold and reduced it. The only explanation is that “the rock was thrown into the freezer”, explains Jean-Alix Barrett, following a shock. While still studying its composition, we discovered that it traveled in a “gravel pile protected from solar radiation” for over 4.5 billion years. Until 26 million years ago, the tiny asteroid itself was broken and the rock exposed to the sun for its final phase. She turned and came back. “Until she has a bad meeting with us”, so to speak.

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