It's a rare opportunity to study the origins of the solar system.
Scientists just found a chunk of comet hiding inside of a rocky meteorite that fell to Earth.
Normally, comets burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere. In other words, according to Gizmodo, this cosmic calzone provided a protective shield around the comet fragments, giving scientists an valuable opportunity to study the origins of the solar system.
The meteorite in question is called LaPaz Icefield 02342, which was found in Antarctica in 2002. This new probe into the meteorite’s composition, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, describes 100 micron-thick — the size of a thick human hair — carbon-rich segments that the scientists suspect originated in a comet.
Without actually knowing how the meteorite formed, the scientists can’t quite conclude that it’s housing pieces of a comet, according to Gizmodo. But based on what scientists do know about comets and meteorites, the researchers suspect that a still-forming comet collided with a meteorite that eventually fell to Earth.
Very few comets survive the descent to Earth, so if that’s really what scientists found, it could give them a rare glimpse into how celestial bodies are formed.
READ MORE: Piece of a Comet Found Tucked Inside Meteorite [Gizmodo]
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