Sebastian R. Ortega / Staff reporter

A fireball that lit up the night sky of the United Kingdom this February 28, could provide answers to questions about the solar system because of its rarity.

300 grams were collected from a small town called Gloucestershire, which is between Oxford and Bristol in Britain.

Gloucestershire’s location in England.

Hundreds of observers caught sight of the bright meteor fireball in their house’s cameras. Footage of the fireball shot by the community, helped locate the meteorite and determine exactly where it came from in the solar system.

Members of the community showing excitement after finding a meteorite!
The meteorites collected where of different shapes and sizes.

It has been 30 years since a rock of this type has fallen on Britain.

“Nearly all meteorites come to us from asteroids, the leftover building blocks of the solar system that can tell us how planets like the Earth formed. The opportunity to be one of the first people to see and study a meteorite that was recovered almost immediately after falling [sic] is a dream come true!” said Ashley King, member of a team that had to verify and retrieve the pieces of the meteorite.

King explains that the meteorite is a particularly rare kind of space rock. He comments that the materials the rock is made of dictate its value- it is an extremely ancient material that predates our own planet- dating about 4.6 billion years ago.

Some of these meteorites contain particles that date to a time before the sun’s existence.

“Normally we have to send spacecraft to collect bits of other worlds, but this time one has fallen right into our laps!” comments Dr. Katherine Joy, a Royal Society University researcher.

Dr. Katherine Joy has shown excitement because the rock can be classified as a carbonaceous chondrite.

Microscopy Today Micrograph Awards Gallery 2020 | Microscopy Society of  America
 Light microscopy image of 30-µm of crystals present in a carbonaceous chondrite found in Morocco in 2002.

Like its name entails, it is not only rich in carbon, which is worth mentioning, is the element that makes up complex forms of life, but the material also contains organic and amino acid material.

Amino acids are the most pristine materials of the solar system, and their presence may provide unique information of where water is and where the building blocks of life could have been formed.

All organisms (at least on Earth) employ the same workforce to perform a wide range of essential biochemical tasks. This workforce are called proteins, which are constructed from a long string of amino acids attached to each other.

These are some of the biggest questions asked by the scientific community, and the United Kingdom having access to such a valuable resource for research material could greatly impact our relationship with space.

Scientists have found that humanity’s family tree origins billions of years in the past, and have found that we all come from dust. Where this dust rich in organic chemistry came from has been a debate that has lasted for more than half a century.

Works used on this article:

Gloucestershire meteorite is first UK find in 30 years

Rare meteorite recovered in UK after spectacular fireball

Meteorite recovered in the UK after spectacular fireball in the sky

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