Scientists have long believed that meteorites, bits of asteroid hitting Earth, come from various space rocks in the asteroid belt.
However, a new study suggests they may have a common, unknown origin.
The study looked at more than 500 million years of marine sedimentary rocks that contain meteorites, examined 15 different time windows, and found that they all originated in the asteroid belt, but it’s unclear where they originated in the asteroid belt.
“We argue that meteorites and small asteroids delivered to Earth in distant time are not primarily related to the sequence of family-forming events,” researchers Fredrik Terfelt and Birger Schmitz wrote in the study summary.
“Another, as yet unknown, delivery process appears to be related to a very limited area in the asteroid belt.”
Meteorites may have a common, unknown origin, a new study has found
“Another, as yet unknown, delivery process appears to be related to a very narrow area in the asteroid belt,” the researchers said.
Experts looked at more than 500 million years of marine sedimentary rocks containing meteorites, examined 15 different time windows, and found that they all originated in the asteroid belt, but it’s unclear where they originated in the asteroid belt.
What the researchers could tell from their researcher is that meteorites generally come from a very small area in the asteroid belt.
In addition, the process that shoots them out is “remarkably stable over the past 500 million years.”
In an interview with InverseSchmitz, a professor at Lund University, said he had traveled the world — California, Sweden, China and Russia — to examine a diverse sample of sedimentary rock.
After looking at the various rocks, he was left with more questions than answers about the origin of meteorites.
“That’s a problem with our study, and it’s a problem in science today, a big problem,” Schmitz told the news channel. “We don’t know where the meteorites that dominate the flux come from in the asteroid belt.”
After collecting the rock samples from each site, they were placed in hydrochloric acid, the remains revealing the residue and chromium spinel grains, a common mineral found in meteorites.
“We looked for tiny needles in the big haystack,” explained Schmitz. “So we’re basically burning the haystack.”
Most asteroids live in the main asteroid belt, an area of space between Mars and Jupiter.
Most asteroids live in the main asteroid belt, an area of space between Mars and Jupiter. More than 1 million asteroids are known, according to NASA, but many more have yet to be identified
according to NASA, over 1 million asteroids are known, but many more have yet to be identified.
A piece of an asteroid or comet is also called a meteoroid. Upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere, it turns into a meteor, fireball, or shooting star. The pieces that reach the ground are called meteorites.
It is widely believed that “the variations in the flow of micrometeorites and meteorites to Earth today are generally described by the collision cascade model,” the researchers wrote in their study, but after looking at more than 20,000 pounds (10,000 kg) of rock , Schmitz and Terfelt could not find a known collision event.
“It’s a great mystery, a great mystery,” Schmitz told Inverse.
Understanding the origins of meteorites could help us better understand not only how the solar system formed, but also which space rocks could endanger humanity in the future, Schmitz said.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Explained: the difference between an asteroid, meteorite and other space rocks
A asteroid is a large piece of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
A comet is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.
A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.
This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small that they evaporate into the atmosphere.
When one of these meteoroids reaches Earth, it becomes a . mentioned meteorite.
Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris in the atmosphere burns up, forming a meteor shower.