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Meteorite contains the oldest material on Earth: 7-billion-year-old stardust

The Telegraph (UK) – “The oldest thing ever found on Earth has been discovered by scientists, and it is more than two billion years older than our planet. Tiny specks of stardust, dating back seven billion years, have been uncovered in a meteorite which landed in Victoria, Australia, in 1969. Known as the Murchison Meteorite it contains a mix of material from when our own Solar System was forming, as well as star-building dust that is far earlier. Some previous samples from the meteorite date to about 5.5 billion years ago, the oldest things ever found on Earth, but a new analysis shows some grains are seven billion years old. Scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago discovered most particles dated from between 4.9 to 4.6 billion years ago, a time when the Solar System was forming, which is the earliest that dust has been found up to now. But some particles were seven billion years old, the oldest ever seen. “This is one of the most exciting studies I’ve worked on,” said Dr Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, and associate professor at the University of Chicago. “These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy. They’re solid samples of stars, real stardust.”…

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