In 2013, researchers announced that a pebble found in south-west Egypt, was definitely not from Earth. By 2015, other research teams had announced that the 'Hypatia' stone was not part of any known types of meteorite or comet, based on noble gas and nuclear probe analyses.
(The stone was named Hypatia after Hypatia of Alexandria, the first Western woman mathematician and astronomer.)
However, if the pebble was not from Earth, what was its origin and could the minerals in it provide clues on where it came from? Micro-mineral analyses of the pebble by the original research team at the University of Johannesburg have now provided unsettling answers that spiral away from conventional views of the material our solar system was formed from.
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Extraterrestrial Stone Found In Egypt Contains Compounds Not Found Elsewhere In The Solar System
A small pebble discovered in Egypt is challenging current understanding of the Solar System. Analysis suggests that the diamond-filled stone has extraterrestrial origins and contains compounds that predate the Sun.
Earlier analyses of the stone revealed that it contains micromineral compounds that are not found anywhere on our planet or any known meteorite. The compounds are not even found elsewhere in the Solar System.
Now, findings of a new study, which was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, found that the alien rock also lacks silicate minerals, which make it more unique from other known materials in the Solar System. The stone also contains minerals that appear to predate the Sun.
Other findings were also peculiar. Researchers discovered that the pebble has aluminum in its pure metallic form, which rarely, it if ever occurs, in the Solar System. They also discovered silicon carbide, or moissanite and silver iodine phosphide in unexpected forms, as well as a compound that is mainly composed of nickel and phosphorus but with no iron, a bizarre mineral composition never before seen on Earth and in other alien materials.
Its features suggest that the Hypatia is composed of unchanged materials that could be older than the Sun albeit it is believed to have formed after the Solar System's formation.
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