Secrets of solar system formation revealed by cosmic dust
A tiny grain of stardust — older than the solar system itself — sheds light on how planetary systems like ours form. A microbe-sized particle — a graphite grain originating from a nova explosion which occurred over 4.5 billion years ago — has been liberated from a meteorite collected in Antartica by NASA. The grain has been studied down to the atomic level by researchers from the University of Arizona and the University of Toronto. Jane Howe, an engineering professor at the latter institute explains: “This grain is presolar. It originated before the formation of the sun.