World’s Oldest Substance Is Found: 7.5 Billion-Year-Old Stardust
World’s Oldest Substance Is Found: 7.5 Billion-Year-Old Stardust A group of scientists from the US and Switzerland studied pre-sun particles in a section of the Murchison meteor that fell to Australia in 1969 and published their results as an academic paper.
The author of the article is Assoc. Dr. Philipp Heck described the particles they examined as “solid specimens from stars and true stardust”.
The earliest dust particles formed in the stars long before the Solar System appeared. When the stars died, the particles that made up the explosion spread into space.
These dust, described as “pre-solar particles”, have become part of the formation of new stars, planets, satellites, and meteors.
‘It Smelled Like Rotten Peanut Butter’
Another scientist who signed the paper, Jennika Greer, said they began their study by turning parts on the meteorite into dust.
Greer said, ” after all the pieces were parsed, something like putty came out with a hard structure. It smelled like rotten peanut butter,” she said.
The scientists then dissolved this putty substance into acid, leaving only Stardust.
Assoc. Dr. Heck described their operation as “burning the haystack to find the needle.”
Scientists began to examine how long they had been exposed to cosmic rays in space to determine the age of the stardust they found.
Cosmic rays can collide with other materials to form new elements. The longer they are exposed to this effect, the more new elements emerge.
Thus, scientists examined the elements on the stardust they found and found that they were 7.5 billion years old.
The age of such particles found to date generally ranged from 4.6 to 4.9 billion years. The sun is 4.6 billion; The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.