A minuscule rock fragment was discovered lying in a field in Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom. At first glance, the rock doesn’t look too different from other rocks for a regular passerby. However, for a more trained eye, it could contain crucial information about the birth of the Solar System and the origin of life on our planet as we know it.
The main highlight of the meteorite is that it comes from somewhere past the orbit of the red planet.
It somehow got sent our way by gravitational interactions or collisions between asteroids and wandered through space before colliding with our planet.
The Winchcombe meteorite, as it was dubbed, maybe more than a regular meteorite.
Scientists are analyzing its compositions, hoping to learn more about its origins.
Shaun Fowler, a microscopist from the Loughborough University in the UK, said that the rock’s internal structure is brittle and loosely bound, being porous and having some fissures and cracks.
“It doesn’t appear to have undergone thermal metamorphism, which means it’s been sitting out there, past Mars, untouched, since before any of the planets were created, meaning we have the rare opportunity to examine a piece of our primordial past,” he added.
The tiny fragment appears to be part of the same meteorite that fell in Winchcombe in March, and it is estimated to be roughly 4.6 billion years old, which is roughly as old as our Solar System.
Therefore, the meteorite formed from the same gas and dust cloud that led to the birth of the Sun and its surrounding planets.
Close analysis of the rock’s internal structure revealed that its loosely aggregated construction is a sign that it did not experience compacting forces from collisions.