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Quasicrystals could come from space

Posted on Monday, 13 August, 2012 | Comment icon 5 comments

Image credit: US Department of Energy

Mysterious naturally occuring quasicrystals in Russia are believed to be extraterrestrial in origin.

Quasicrystals are a unique type of crystal first proposed by Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman in 1982. The crystals were thought not to occur naturally until 2009 when a sample was identified in the Museum of Natural History in Florence, prompting an expedition to discover where the sample originated. What the team found was that the quasicrystal is likely to have come from outer space.

"How did the quasicrystal form so perfectly inside a complex meteorite when we normally have to work hard in the laboratory to get anything as perfect ?" said Paul Steinhardt. "What other new phases can we find in this meteorite and what can they tell us about the early solar system? At the moment, we are at the tip of the iceberg."

"Results from an expedition to far eastern Russia that set out to find the origin of naturally occurring quasicrystals have provided convincing evidence that they arrived on Earth from outer space."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ZaraKitty on 13 August, 2012, 11:34
I opened the article expecting aliens and awesome shiny rocks, not this science mumbo jumbo! I am disappoint.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Abramelin on 13 August, 2012, 13:41
I am not... From the article: Furthermore, their findings reveal that the samples of quasicrystals were brought to the area during the last glacial period, suggesting the meteorite was most likely to have hit Earth around 15 000 years ago. How much 'around' would that have been? New evidence supporting theory of extraterrestrial impact found June 11, 2012 These new data are the latest to strongly support the controversial Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) hypothesis, which proposes that a cosmic impact occurred 12,900 years ... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Lava_Lady on 13 August, 2012, 16:24
I wonder what that thing its worth....
Comment icon #4 Posted by tank6boss on 13 August, 2012, 22:44
Wow! The Koryak Mountains of Russia were really hard to find using Google Earth! But they are there!
Comment icon #5 Posted by SPETSNAZ95 on 14 August, 2012, 11:49
I wonder what they can be used for

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