In May 2020, on the territory of the Sahara Desert,a very rare meteorite was found, which is a fragment of a planet that did not have time to form. The small rock is believed to have been formed over 4.6 billion years ago, making it older than Earth. Researchers are still studying the found object and believe that it can reveal many interesting facts about the formation of planets in the solar system. As part of this article, I propose to find out what exactly scientists know about an unusual meteorite and why the planet, of which it is a part, could not fully form. It is worth starting with the fact that the found object is not formed from dust particles and rocks stuck together, like most ordinary meteorites. The meteorite is of volcanic origin, that is, it belongs to the class of achondrites, the features of which I will also mention.
Rare meteorite in the Sahara Desert
According to the scientific publication ScienceAlert,the found meteorite was named Erg Chech 002 (EC 002). It was found in a huge 32-kilogram piece of rock in the sandy Erg Chech desert in western Sahara. Scientists quickly realized that they were dealing with something unusual and very rare. Usually the so-called chondrite meteorites fall on the Earth, which consist of stuck together chondrules - spherical formations with a diameter of no more than 1 millimeter. And the found meteorite belongs to achondrites, in which there are no chondrules. It is believed that achondrites lose their round formations as a result of melting, which usually occurs during volcanic processes.
Scientists believe that the meteorite is part ofprotoplanets. This is the name of a planet in the earliest stages of its emergence, which has already passed the stage of internal melting. This is evidenced by the age of the meteorite - analysis showed that it was formed about 4.6 billion years ago. By comparison, the Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. That is, the meteorite arose a little earlier than our planet and, accordingly, is older than it. For billions of years, he flew through the vastness of the solar system until, in the end, he fell into the Sahara.
According to the researchers, the detection of suchmeteorite is a very rare and important phenomenon for the scientific community. Anyway, the chance of finding achondritis in scientists is extremely small. According to the Meteoritical Bulletin Database, which collects data on all space objects that have fallen to Earth, in the entire history of observations, researchers have found only 3,179 such meteorites. Some sources say achondrites are common types of meteorites, but the catch is that they are not found as often as we would like.
See also: How much are the rarest meteorites and where to buy them?
The fate of the protoplanets
As for why the protoplanet neverwas born, scientists have one theory. It is quite simple and says that the celestial object was simply destroyed and turned into dust. It is also possible that the protoplanet has become part of some larger object. The crust of the protoplanet could have been composed of a material referred to as andesite. It is distinguished by the content of a large amount of silica and scientists believe that now it is very difficult to find protoplanets from such material. And all because most of them disappeared without becoming something truly big.
In general, protoplanets are among the mostmysterious space objects. In 2016, researchers put forward a very bold assumption that one of the protoplanets once even collided with the Moon. The fact is that there is a very large crater on the satellite of our planet, which is known as the Sea of Rains. Its diameter is 1123 kilometers, so it is clearly visible from the Earth. For a long time, scientists were convinced that this crater was caused by a meteorite collision. But American scientists do not exclude that once upon a time something similar to an emerging protoplanet collided with a satellite. You can read more about this theory in this article.
If you want to know more about meteorites,I recommend that you follow this link and find out all the most important about them. In the article, I told you what types of meteorites are divided into, where you can find them, and even how to sell them. I also touched on the topic of fake meteorites and their smuggling. In general, the material turned out to be very detailed, so pleasant reading!