Back in 2000, a meteor finally found its way to the end of its journey. It basically exploded above Canada, and hundreds of pieces from it fell on the surface of the Tagish Lake in British Columbia. All of these pieces are called the Tagish Lake meteorite, and they are quite unique when it comes to space rocks. When the meteor hit the atmosphere of Earth, the mass of the object was thought to be of 200 tons. This means that we got a huge fireball hitting Earth.
Scientists tried to recover the parts of the meteorite, which fell on the frozen surface of the lake. They were put in storage in freezers, which means that fragments remained frozen throughout their time on Earth. This might explain why the Tagish Lake object is thought to be the freshest samples ever recovered. This meteorite is dated to 4.5 billion years, and we are talking about the valuable record which dates back to the dawn of the Solar System.
Lee White from the Royal Ontario Museum stated: “We know the water was abundant in the early Solar System, but there is very little direct evidence of the chemistry or acidity of these liquids, even though they would have been critical to the early formation and evolution of amino acids and, eventually, microbial life.”
This meteorite allows us to understand its structure better, but we need to be careful. White used a technique called atom probe tomography – APT – in order to take a look at the these parts in 3D: “Atom probe tomography allows us to make fantastic discoveries on bits of material a thousand times thinner than a human hair.” By using this, they zoomed in on the magnetite grains which were found inside the lake.