Meteorite Older Than Earth Found In Aussie Outback

Perth researchers found the 4.5 billion-year-old rock on New Year’s Eve

It was a race against time for researchers to dig out a meteorite that’s older than our planet.

The team from Curtin University found the rock in Lake Eyre on New Year’s Eve, just hours before it would have washed away.

Planetary geologist Professor Phil Bland hand-dug the meteorite from a 42 centimetre deep hole in a remote section of the lake bed just hours before the arrival of heavy rains.

[Image: Curtin University/Desert Fireball Network]

“It was an amazing team effort – we got there by the skin of our teeth,” says Professor Bland.

“This meteorite is of special significance as the camera observations used to calculate the fall positions have also enabled the solar system orbit of the meteorite to be calculated, giving important contextual information for future study.”

“We’ve got a lot more rocks on the ground. This recovery will be the first of many – and every one of those meteorites will give us a unique window into the formation of the Solar System.”

[Image: Curtin University/Desert Fireball Network]

The search began back in November when the meteorite was spotted falling by locals and captured on Desert Fireball Network cameras.

Through image analysis, triangulation and dynamic calculations experts were able to locate the fall site in Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.

The three day recovery operation was a complex logistical exercise involving an aerial spotter, a remotely operated drone, two searchers on the lake’s surface, and guidance around the area by local Arabana men Dean Stuart and Dave Strangways.

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