THE SCIENCES found the "extraterrestrial" grain of dust that survived the birth of our Solar System.
It is believed that the tiny spot of material found in the Antarctic meteorite was created by a distant star because it was destroyed by a huge explosion.
The star died long before our Sun even existed, and the experts reckon that the newly found fragment may shed light on how the Solar System was born.
This is because small stardust grains are considered to be key building materials in the birth of new stars and planets – just like life as we know them.
"As true dust from stars, such presole grains give us a glimpse into the building blocks that made up our solar system," said Dr. Pierre Haenecour, lead author of a new study on finding.
"They also give us a direct overview of the star's conditions at the time this grain was formed."
The Antarctic Meteorite was found and collected by NASA, and later analyzed by scientists at the University of Toronto.
They used state-of-the-art microscopes to study the atoms that make up the rock, and found a small fragment containing a particular mixture of graphite and silicate grains.
A small piece of material turned out to be stardust, which scientists named LAP-149.
It is believed to have formed 4.5 million years after the violent death of a star known as a supernova explosion.
Wounded by unimaginable distances through space, the grain eventually landed in an area where our solar system would later form, and stuck in a primitive meteorite.
Interstellar pathways like these are important for creating new star systems, scientists say.
They provide worlds with chemical elements such as carbon and oxygen to help spread the key building blocks of life into the far-flung corners of the galaxy.
The study gives a new insight into the dying star's conditions.
It is also contrary to the long-held belief that the two kinds of stardust material, oxygen-rich and carbon-rich – which are building blocks in the formation of the solar system – could not form in the same stellar explosion.
Scientists hope to study larger pieces of stars in the future to get a better idea of how life began in our Solar System.
"This kind of research is part of a much larger debate about how life began on Earth," said University of Toronto scientist, Professor Jane Howe.
"We all care who we are and where we came from."
Research has been published in Nature.
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