Asteroid news: ‘Rich inventory of extraterrestrial organic compounds’ ...

ASTEROID experts have excitedly analysed a remarkable meteor containing ‘pristine' organic compounds of alien origin.

PUBLISHED: 19:40, Wed, Oct 28, 2020 | UPDATED: 19:42, Wed, Oct 28, 2020

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A fireball meteor streaked across the sky in the US before landing on a frozen lake in Michigan on January 16, 2018. Astronomers scrambled to the site to collect the valuable meteorite, before its chemical make-up was contaminated too much.

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This decisive action allowed scientists to get a rare glimpse at how an asteroid acts in outer space.

This meteorite is special because it fell onto a frozen lake and was recovered quickly

Professor Philipp Heck

And most amazing of all, asteroid analysts were granted the rare opportunity to peer first-hand at ‘pristine’ organic compounds some suggest can reveal the origins of life itself.

Professor Philipp Heck of the University of Chicago and lead author of the new paper, said in a statement: "This meteorite is special because it fell onto a frozen lake and was recovered quickly.

“It was very pristine. We could see the minerals weren't much altered and later found that it contained a rich inventory of extraterrestrial organic compounds.

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Asteroid experts have excitedly analysed a remarkable meteor containing ‘pristine’ organic compoundsAsteroid experts have excitedly analysed a remarkable meteor containing ‘pristine’ organic compounds (Image: Field Museum/Robert Ward)

Asteroid news: untapped value of asteroidsAsteroid news: The fireball meteor streaked across the sky in the US before landing on a frozen lake in Michigan (Image: Express)

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"These kinds of organic compounds were likely delivered to the early Earth by meteorites and might have contributed to the ingredients of life."

When the fireball arrived in Michigan, scientists used US space agency NASA's weather radar to track where the pieces crash landed. "

Professor Heck added: “Weather radar is meant to detect hail and rain.

"These pieces of meteorite fell into that size range, and so weather radar helped show the position and velocity of the meteorite.

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