Most coincidences that happen during your average day are admittedly trite, such as singing a fairly popular song at the same time that song comes on a popular radio station. But this is probably the greatest coincidence ever. At least on this planet.
Two meteorites found in Antarctica have similar grain material that researchers believe connects them as having been part of the same supernova — a supernova that happened over 4.6 billion years ago. But not only that…
…they believe this supernova’s explosion is the same one that led to the formation of our solar system. I mean, I can’t even find my license in my wallet sometimes, and these guys are finding pieces of the post-Big Bang universe. These “guys” are Pierre Haenecour of Washington University in St. Louis and Xuchao Zhao, now a scientist at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics in Beijing. Both rocks’ silica grains — which are invisible to the naked eye and had to be magnified 20,000 times for the investigation — contained oxygen-18, unlike other grains found that only contained the lighter oxygen-17, which is thought to be created only by living stars. Haenecour and his team then tried to figure out how exactly these grains could have been made.
They found they could reproduce the oxygen-18 enrichment of the two grains by mixing small amounts of material from the oxygen-rich inner zones and the oxygen-18-rich helium/carbon zone with large amounts of material from the hydrogen envelope of the supernova.
I guess it could have been a bigger coincidence had the silica been found on different sides of the planet, but them ending up here in the first place is pretty Jupiter-damned special, and makes it the coolest story about meteorites, just barely beating the guy who used one as a ham press.
And because fake trailers never get old, revisit Russian Meteorite: The Movie!!!!