Graduate Student, Laboratory of Steven Jacobsen
Studying meteorites can reveal the history of our planet and the solar system. This image depicts a portion of a chondritic meteorite that fell to Earth thousands of years ago. The colors in the photo show quickly cooled crystals, indicating that this material has not been re-heated since its formation. Chondritic meteorites form from asteroids too small to undergo planetary differentiation, the process by which planets form core, mantle, and crust layers, and are thought to represent the oldest original material from the formation of our solar system. In fact, the age of the solar system, 4.56 billion years old, comes from dating meteorites like this one.