Scientists analysing a meteorite have discovered the oldest material known to exist on Earth

Publication date
Friday, 17 Jan 2020

Microscopic grains of dead stars are the oldest known material on the planet — older than the moon, Earth and the solar system itself. By examining chemical clues in a meteorite’s mineral dust, researchers have determined the most ancient grains are 7 billion years old — about half as old as the universe. Rocks don’t get much more classic than this.

The researchers including RSES's Janaina Avila, studied minerals in the Murchison meteorite, a large space rock that disintegrated in 1969 above cow pastures in Murchison, Australia. Dairy farmers collected the fragments and sold kilograms of the meteorite to museums and universities. Read more