Oldest Material in Solar System Found
Discovery suggests exploding star kick-started our sun.
(Related: "Saturn's Rings as Old as Solar System, Study Says.")
The 3-pound (1.5-kilogram) parent meteorite, dubbed NWA 2364, was found in 2004 in Morocco and is believed to have originated from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
But the tests reveal that telltale mineral lumps inside—called calcium-aluminum inclusions—are from a time before that asteroid belt existed. The minerals may have formed just after part of an interstellar gas and dust cloud, or nebula, had collapsed and formed our sun, as one sun-formation theory goes.
"Soon after the collapse of the solar nebula, matter started to condense as the temperature went down, and these inclusions started forming," said lead study author Audrey Bouvier, a research associate at