A team of researchers has discovered a large number of ancient ice fossils that could offer valuable information but the early days of the solar system. The fossils were found within an asteroid with an estimated age of 4.6 billion years and which was uncovered from the Sahara desert after it crashed in 1990. Classified as Acfer 094, the primitive asteroid is a primitive meteorite that formed from the remains of a nebula or gaseous clouds and dust that condensed into smaller objects.
By studying the fossils, researchers hope to learn more about the formation of asteroids when the solar system was still young, and the materials that contributed to the formation of the other planets found within our solar system.
Initial tests infer that the ice dust contains silicate, sulfide and organic materials that play an important role in the appearance and development of building blocks that contribute to the formation of solar systems. The ice dust seems to have a fluffy structure as silicate aggregates are covered by a frosty H20 layer.
Scientists discover fascinating ice fossils
When our solar system was still young, clouds of dust, gas, and occasionally ice tended to form agglomerations that matured into rocky asteroids or large protoplanets (objects which have a size that is on par with that of planetesimals). Select objects evolved into planets as grew, and the intense heat of the sun forced them to melt and recrystallize.
During the study, a significant amount of new data was collected, and it will be quite useful as future research will take place. The layout of the ice fossils allowed researchers to observe how ice was distributed within the body of an object.
Using some of the new data, the team created an advanced simulation, which shows how Acfer 094 evolved and how the fluffy ice dust contributed to the process. As objects of this type approach, the sun the ice found within them will melt, leaving the fossils behind.