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a piece of meteorite
Rodney Start, © Museums Victoria
Murchison meteorite fragment.

[Rerun] Stardust on Earth

Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth, stellar dust that is 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive meteorite that hit our planet half a century ago.

These presolar grains (or stardust) were trapped in the universe by dying stars and eventually ended on Earth in the Murchison meteorite that fell to Earth in 1969 in Australia. There are 36 specimens from the meteorite, with a total weight of about four kilograms conserved at Museums Victoria in Melbourne. The meteorite fragments are rich in organic compounds, including amino acids (building blocks of DNA), that show that the chemical ingredients to form life exist elsewhere in our Universe.

Morten Remar from Science Stories spoke (in Danish) with astronomer Christoffer Karoff from the Geoscience Center at Aarhus University to get an explanation of the discovery and what it means for our knowledge of the formation of the solar system.

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Additional information on the meteorite (in English):

Podcast produced with support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.