A never-before-seen extraterrestrial mineral was lurking inside a meteorite found nearly 70 years ago.
According to a new study first reported by the Australian news site, The Age, the mineral doesn’t naturally occur anywhere on our planet; as such, it’s been seen only as a man-made version.
The Wedderburn meteorite was first discovered in 1951 near Wedderburn in Victoria, Australia, and is now part of the Museums Victoria collection. When it was first found, the rock was “lemon-sized” and weighed 210 grams (7.4 ounces), according to the Museums Victoria Collections. Since the space rock’s discovery, researchers from around the world have been studying slices of it to understand what it’s made of and where it came from.
Last year, researchers at the California Institute of Technology conducted the latest of such studies. Using an electron-beam microscope and electron probe, they analyzed a slice of the space rock and happened upon a rare, previously unnamed mineral that doesn’t naturally occur on our planet.
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