a shocked comet fragment
January 11, 2018 3:56 AM   Subscribe

The Hypatia Stone "They found that many compounds in the stone seem to have formed prior to the sun and planets. The elements are the same—carbon and silicon and aluminum and iron—but the ratios of these elements in the material are all wrong, unlike the composition of objects that orbit the sun."
posted by dhruva (13 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
The Popular Mechanics article uses value judgements to convey the uniqueness of the sample and I found that very challenging in this read. I feel like it isn't till the paragraph below where they bring the point home in an accessible way.
Thanks for including the original paper, I'm looking forward to reading it, and also more about polyaromatic hydrocarbons in the interstellar medium.

"There are no silicate minerals in Hypatia's matrix, in contrast to chondritic meteorites (and planets like the Earth, Mars and Venus), where silicates are dominant," says Kramers. "Then there are the exotic mineral inclusions. If Hypatia itself is not presolar, both features indicate that the solar nebula wasn't the same kind of dust everywhere—which starts tugging at the generally accepted view of the formation of our solar system."
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 6:48 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]

This is fascinating.

Are there any mefites with access to the paper able to share it on an individual basis for (currently unaffiliated) people?

We just had an alien world swoop through our local environment. Now we have a truly alien meteorite in a desert in Egypt, and we can't talk about it because Elsevier own science.

Fuck. Where did the enlightenment go wrong?
posted by Combat Wombat at 7:13 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]

If it were possible to grind up the entire planet Earth to dust in a huge mortar and pestle

for President, 2020
posted by runt at 7:18 AM on January 11 [19 favorites]

something new under the sun, finally
posted by thelonius at 7:31 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]

access to the paper cough
posted by dhruva at 7:38 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]

Libyan desert glass Wiki article, for a bit of context on that fascinating tangent.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:34 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]

Question: the theories mentioned are that the rock is either pre-solar or that the nebula was not homogenous. Is it possible that it’s post-solar but extra-solar, meaning that it’s not older than the solar system but instead came from a different solar system that formed from a different (yet also homogenous) nebula?
posted by ejs at 8:36 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

We just had an alien world swoop through our local environment

We did?

Do you mean the Oumuamua?
posted by slipthought at 8:40 AM on January 11

That os how I understood that:

ʻOumuamua is the first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System.
posted by thelonius at 8:47 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

You have to wonder if forces inside our planet can radically change the composition of things. That big rift is continuously opening between Africa and the Middle East, and with a huge meteor impact and the crust instability there, maybe it is an atypical piece of a catastrophe. (Kind of like my hair, this morning.)
posted by Oyéah at 9:44 AM on January 11

You have to wonder if forces inside our planet can radically change the composition of things.

I'm no science talking guy, but I do not think this is possible, outside of known phenomena like radioactive decay.
posted by thelonius at 10:29 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

"In any case, Hypatia is truly a diamond in the rough."

posted by Phredward at 11:27 AM on January 11

Damn. I read the post but not the PopSci article (blocked at work) and couldn't wait to see whether anything was going to tell me what eagle-eyed individual decided *that little pebble* was worth picking up. In the interim I concocted a bunch of scenarios:

Fate: young Egyptian woman picked up a pretty pebble when she was twelve and on vacation. Later, having become a crystallographer, she decides to see what's inside her pretty pebble....

Grindy industrial process: Pebble Sorting Facility #7 in Shenzhen identifies the pebble as "of interest" because of its density.

Determination meets curiosity: man with a hyperactive metal detector finds thousands of pull tabs, hundreds of coins, three gold nuggets... and a mysterious pebble.

The person who "immediately knew" the pebble was not of Earth has a talent and I wonder what informs it. Regardless: that pebble has not been on Earth long in terms of geological time, either - native aluminum does not occur here and neither do active phosphides.
posted by jet_silver at 8:00 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

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