The Wedderburn meteorite’s been sitting in Museums Victoria in Australia since it was found nearby in 1951, and researchers have sliced it open to search its contents just as long.
It might’ve formed in space
Researchers Chi Ma of Caltech and Alan Rubin at UCLA examined a slab of the meteorite and were surprised to find edscottite under an electron microscope.
Just how it formed is still unclear. Geoffrey Bonning, a planetary scientist at the Australian National University who was not involved with the study, speculated to The Age that it was blasted out of the core of another planet.
The hypothetical planet, he said, formed when asteroids clumped into one big planet. The planet heated up during its formation, and hot metal dripped into its core.
“This meteorite had an abundance of carbon in it. And as it slowly cooled down, the iron and carbon came together and formed this mineral,” Mills said.
Eventually, the planet might’ve been struck by another astronomical body and destroyed, flinging the debris across the solar system.
The debris, Bonning posited, became the Wedderburn meteorite. The edscottite might’ve been created when all that metal heated up in the former planet.