b'8 Carnegie Science|Summer 2019The researchers showed that theThis illustration (below) shows cometary fragment encased in thehow a sliver of cometary building meteorite likely originated in theblock material was swallowed by icy outer Solar System, along withan asteroid and preserved inside objects from the Kuiper Belta meteorite, where it was where many comets originate.discovered by a Carnegie-led Image courtesy NASA team of scientists. Image courtesy Larry Nittler and NASACometarySurprise Kuiper BeltInside Meteorite. . . clues to Solar Systems architectureLike an insect in amber, an ancient sliver of cometary building blocks was discovered encased in a meteorite. The finding, by a Carnegie-led team, was published by Nature Astronomy and could offer clues to the formation and evolution of our Solar System. Meteorites were once part of asteroids, which broke up from collisions in space and survived the trip through Earths atmosphere. Their makeup can vary substantially from meteorite to meteorite, reflecting different origins in different parent bodies and from different parts of the Solar System. Asteroids and comets both formed from the disk of gasLead author Larry Nittler, right, speaks with some of the nations top high school students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). They are in Carnegies cosmochemistry lab. and dust that once rotated around our youngI mage courtesy Roberto Molar Candanosa, Carnegie Institution for ScienceSun, but they aggregated at different distances from the Sun, affecting their chemicalafter the Solar System formedlong beforeravages of entering Earths atmosphere, makeup. Compared to asteroids, cometsEarth finished growingthis object wasNittler explained. It gave us a peek at contain more water ice and far more carbon. captured by the growing asteroid frommaterial that would not have survived to By studying a meteorites chemistry andwhich the meteorite originated.reach our planets surface on its own, mineralogy, researchers like lead authorBy undertaking sophisticatedhelping us to understand the early Solar Larry Nittler can reveal details about itschemical and isotopic analysis of theSystems chemistry.formation and how much heating and othermaterial, Nittler and his colleagues The existence of this primitive chemical processing it experienced as theCarnegies Conel Alexander and Jemmamaterial indicates that, due to the drag Solar System formed.Davidson (now at Arizona Statecaused by the surrounding gas, particles A particularly primitive class ofUniversity), as well as Rhonda Stroud andlike it migrated from the outer edges of meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites isBradley De Gregorio of the U.S. Navalthe Solar System, where comets and thought to have formed beyond Jupiter. One,Research Laboratory, and Josep Trigo- Kuiper Belt objects formed, to the closer-discovered in Antarcticas LaPaz Icefield, isRodrguez, Carles Moyano-Cambero, andin area beyond Jupiter, where the particularly pristine with minimalSafoura Tanbakouei of the Institute ofcarbonaceous chondrites formed, weathering since landing on Earth.Space Sciences in Barcelona, Catalonia revealing details about how our Solar Inside the LaPaz meteorite, Nittlerswere able to show that the encasedSystems architecture was shaped during team found a very carbon-rich slice ofmaterial likely originated in the icy outerthe early stages of planet formation. primitive materialabout one tenth of aSolar System with objects from the Kuiper millimeter acrossthat bears some strikingBelt, where many comets originate. similarities to extraterrestrial dust particlesBecause this sample of cometary SUPPORT:that are thought to have originated in cometsbuilding block material was swallowed bySpanish grants AYA 2011-26522 and AYA 2015-67175-P and NASA grants NNX10AI63G and NNH16AC42I supported this work. that formed near the Solar Systems outeran asteroid and preserved inside thisThis research used resources of the Advanced Light Source, edges. Approximately 3-3.5 million yearsmeteorite, it was protected from thewhich is a DOE Office of Science user facility under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231.'