The study of ancient protoplanets formed onAt the dawn of the formation of the solar system, it is difficult due to the almost complete absence of samples of the crust of these space objects. Recently, in the Erg Shesh Desert, located in the western Sahara in southwestern Algeria, French researchers discovered a fragment of a space object, presumably formed as a result of volcanic activity on a protoplanet older than the age of our Earth.
The total mass of several fragments of the Erg meteoriteChech 002 (EC 002) is about 32 kg. Almost a year ago, in May 2020, the space object was thoroughly studied and as a result, scientists came to the conclusion that EC 002 can be attributed to the class of achondrites, very rare meteorites of volcanic origin, in the structure of which there are pyroxene crystals.
Space objects of this class are known to sciencea total of 3179 units. However, 95% of the known fragments belong to two cosmic bodies. Moreover, 75% of all celestial bodies come from the crust of one asteroid, presumably 4-Vesta.
Found fragments of Erg Chech 002 are classifiedlike andesites. Under the conditions of the Earth, such a rock forms at the border of magma and tectonic plates. A study using radioactive isotopes made it possible to estimate the age of the crystallized elements of Erg Chech 002 at 4.565 billion years, which is 25 million years older than the age of the Earth generally accepted by science (4.54 billion years). It is noteworthy that EC 002 was part of a protoplanet, the age of which scientists have determined as 4.566 million years.
As a result of the formation of the crust of an ancient planeta million years after its formation, crystals found by scientists in the Sahara were formed. Protoplanets, which formed at the dawn of the formation of the solar system, were later either swallowed up by larger planets such as Earth, Venus and Mars, or mutually destroyed by collisions. Today Erg Chech 002 is defined as the oldest object in the solar system discovered by earthlings.