Volume 94, Issue 27
Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Researchers from Western, working with a team of Canadian and international experts, believe a meteorite found in British Columbia may be one of the oldest materials ever discovered in the solar system.
Neil MacRae, professor of earth sciences at Western and co-author of a research report pertaining to the meteorite, said the asteroid may help scientists understand the origins of the solar system.
He said the meteorite has high carbon content and a high content of organic molecules and water, all of which are a rarity in meteorite composition. The meteorite also contains nano-diamonds, which are tiny diamonds that existed in the dust cloud that predated the solar system MacRae added
"It's hard to put into words how exciting this is to the scientific community."
He said the initial meteorite fragments were discovered by British Columbia resident Jim Brook in late January near Tagish Lake.
MacRae commended Brook's handling of the historic find, explaining the process in which Brook handled the meteorite with plastic gloves, and storing it in his freezer until National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a partner in the research, could be contacted.
"Nearly anyone else would have stooped down, picked them up and contaminated them," MacRae said, adding the full extent of the meteorite's impact will be discovered upon future chemical analysis.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000