On Jan. 5, Antarctica was home to an enormous asteroid that contained some of the oldest cosmic materials known.
According to BBC, the 17-pound rock is composed of material that could be billions of years old and is one of the most rare and exciting finds. Over 45,000 asteroids were discovered in Antarctica during the past 100 years. But this rock is quite unique.
The asteroid is thought to have originated from the asteroid belt between Mars, Jupiter and was discovered by an international team of researchers during an 11-day expedition, according to the Chicago Tribune. They used imaging and data specialized to find areas beneath the Antarctic ice that meteorites may have fallen throughout the history of the planet.
An asteroid is one that’s in space. When an asteroid enters the atmosphere, it becomes a meteor. The meteorite is formed when the rock lands on Earth’s surfaces. Maria Valdes, a researcher from Brazil, said that even tiny meteorites can have scientific value. The most recent discovery is however far from small.
According to the BBC, the team believes the most recent meteorite contains chondrite. This is the oldest known material, it was noted. Scientists believe that the oldest chondrite meteorites are over 4.6 billion years of age and may have contributed to the first stages of life on Earth.
Scientists believe that chondrite, which contains water, sulphur and other minerals, may have arrived on Earth during the formation of our planet. This could indicate that We The People are extraterrestrial in origin. Researchers are also trying to determine how meteorites might have contributed to stabilizing our atmosphere and allowing for life to thrive.
A lab in Belgium is currently studying the massive meteorite. More exciting discoveries are likely to be made in near future.