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Ancient asteroid may reveal secrets of early life on Earth

Ian Harvey

Every day our planet is bombarded by thousands of asteroids. Most burn up in trails of blazing light, while the few which get through can cause massive damage upon impact. Scientists have now discovered remnants of a meteorite which landed on earth millions of years ago and is believed to be the only one of its kind. Some 470 million years ago, a giant collision in space barraged our planet with a hail of meteorites. One of these meteors is now being analyzed by scientists with state of the art technology, to study the effect of meteors on the ecosystem and habitats of Planet Earth.

Most of the asteroid fragments landed in the ocean, and many were encased in rock for millions of years. Scientists recently discovered the meteor buried in a limestone quarry in Sweden and have named it Osterplana 65 after the region in which it was found.

Osterplana 65 fell to Earth during the Ordovician period, some 470 million years ago. Experts suggest that the Ordovician era experienced a massive meteor collision which had far-reaching consequences for life on earth; however, relatively little is known about these events, and they remain shrouded in mystery.

The composition and structure of the meteors that landed on earth as a result of the Ordovician shower point to a collision between two asteroids of enormous size. However, an analysis of the newly discovered meteor shows that it has an origin different to that of other similar objects, sparking a scientific debate about its true origins.

L chrondrites (pictured) --the second most common type of meteorite on the planet Source:By H. Raab (User:Vesta) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=226918

L chrondrites (pictured) –the second most common type of meteorite on the planet Source:By H. Raab (User:Vesta) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

A study published in Nature on June 14, 2016, suggests that, unlike the “lone rangers” which occasionally reach our planet, Ost 65 was part of a larger cosmic event which had considerable implications for the development of life on Earth.

According to the researchers who discovered the alien rock, it is not a find of historic importance but also vital significance in uncovering the mysteries of our Solar System and its unique role in shaping our planet’s history.