‘Older than earth’: Aussie scientists dig up ancient meteorite
A meteorite thought to be 4.5 billion years old has been found by Australian researchers, half a meter below the floor of lake Eyre, and they’re very happy about it.
The Desert Fireball Network from Curtin University tracked the meteorite after it entered Earth’s atmosphere on November 27, having come from a mars orbit.
After a three day hunt, the two-man team, with the aid of a drone and a quad bike, narrowed down their search to a one square kilometer area.
In a race against heavy rainfall which would have wiped out all traces of the rock, they found themselves elbow deep in the lake bed’s mud in hope of discovery.
It weighed 80kg when it entered the earth’s atmosphere, but only 1.7kg when found. Nonetheless, the Fireball team were pretty happy about it.
"It is older than the Earth itself," team leader Phil Bland said. "It's the oldest rock you'll ever hold in your hand."
One of 20 such rocks discovered around the world, researchers hope it will give clues as to how the solar system was formed.
"There are a bunch of unanswered questions about the formation of the solar system," fellow team member Robert Howie told The Sydney Morning Herald. "The more meteorites we can get with orbits the closer we can come to maybe answering some of those questions, even about the formation or the creation of life on earth."