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This meteorite is special because it fell onto a frozen lake and was recovered quickly. It was very pristine. We could see the minerals weren't much altered and later found that it contained a rich inventory of extraterrestrial organic compounds, these kinds of organic compounds were likely delivered to the early Earth by meteorites and might have contributed to the ingredients of life.
With this study, we have directly determined the lifetimes of stardust. We hope this will be picked up and studied so that people can use this as input for models of the whole galactic life cycle, it's so exciting to look at the history of our galaxy. Stardust is the oldest material to reach Earth, and from it, we can learn about our parent stars, the origin of the carbon in our bodies [ and ] the origin of the oxygen we breathe. With stardust, we can trace that material back to the time before the sun.
Some of these cosmic rays interact with the matter and form new elements, and the longer they get exposed, the more those elements form. I compare this with putting out a bucket in a rainstorm. Assuming the rainfall is constant, the amount of water that accumulates in the bucket tells you how long it was exposed.
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