Wednesday, 17 February 2010

a fosil from a long long time

On 28 September 1969 at about 10:58 AM, near the town of Murchison in Australia, a bright firewall was observed to separate into three fragments before disappearing, leaving a cloud of smoke. About 30 seconds later, a tremor was heard. Many specimens were found over an area larger than 13 km², being the total collected mass around 100 kg. This was called the "Murchison meteorite".

It seems that the Murchison meteorite was formed when the solar system was formed, or even before the sun came into existence. That means that by studying its composition we could know the composition of this part of the universe at that time....a very very ancient "fosil"....

This study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, ).

The analysis of the chemicals on the meteorite, shows clear indicators that the composition of the earliest solar system had a much higher molecular diversity than our planet does at this point. The conclusions were based on a thorough analysis of the object, which was conducted using advanced, high-resolution tools, including spectroscopy. A single sample of the meteorite allowed the researchers to accurately identify up to 14,000 different compounds in the rock, of which 70 were amino acids. These are the building blocks of proteins, which are in turn indispensable to life.

But the advanced modeling of the new data seems to indicate that the meteorite as a whole could have as much as several million organic compounds inside it. “We have to crush a few milligrams from the core of the meteorite to enable the extractions with solvents and thus we only see the extractable fraction. In addition we are only seeing the ions we can generate with the ionization source of our mass spectrometer. With different types of ionization sources we could see even more”, said one of the scientists.

Is the history of something different to the thing itself?


  1. Anonymous23:00

    are you implying that one and its history are one and the same?

  2. I would put the question from the other side: can anything be completely different or independent of its origins? of its history?
    and that this evolutionary steps are part of what we are?