500 kilograms of fresh snow from Antarctica was analyzed by scientists and this analysis showed iron which is not naturally produced on Earth. These isotopes called as iron -60; were also spotted on the deep ocean but these newly found isotopes are only decades old compared to the ones found in the deep ocean, which could be millions of years old.
This is the first evidence that someone saw something that recent,” said Dominik Koll, a physicist at Australian National University in Canberra and lead author of the study. The team published their findings this week in the journal Physical Review Letters. Scientists believe that these came from other solar systems. “A [interstellar] meteor is a very rare event. However, the smaller the object size is, the more abundant it is,” said Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb. Researchers are also looking into the possibility of these arising from nuclear reactors. Since everything in the solar system, including the sun itself, assembled from the same building blocks billions of years ago. Due to which they have ruled out the possibility of these coming from our solar system.
A geochemistBernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrinfrom Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts agreed that Koll’s team clearly found a significant amount of interstellar iron. “Making these measurements is very difficult. You’re essentially counting individual atoms,” while weighing the contributions from background radiation. “Extracting that from half a ton of ice is not a trivial undertaking,” he said.
“It must have been a supernova, not so near as to kill us but not too far to be diluted in space,” Koll said. Scientists speculate that our planet might have picked up while traveling through local fluff. Since there are no supernovas; scientists find it difficult to pinpoint the origin of this alien dust. They hope to find more results in future studies.