In meteorites first discovered superconductors

Scientists discovered in meteorites, the superconducting material. Discovery leads to new insights on planet formation and other processes in the Solar system.

Achievement is described in a scientific paper published in the journal PNAS.

Recall that superconductors are substances which, when sufficiently low temperature is transferred to the superconducting state. In this state, their electrical resistance is exactly equal to zero. The current is how to circulate them, not extinguished.

what kind Of temperatures are we talking? For most known superconductors is only a few degrees above absolute zero. For example, lead becomes superconducting at -266 degrees Celsius, tin — at -269 degrees Celsius.

On the Ground, such low temperatures are achievable only within the walls of laboratories. But for the space such a cold business as usual. Superconductor caught in such conditions, you will be able to maintain a constant current, and with it the magnetic field. And here begins a region of interest to astronomers.

first, iron meteorites eloquently that on celestial bodies, there are materials capable of magnetization. Therefore, the magnetic field can affect many processes, including the formation of planets.

second, the Solar system is permeated with charged particles (mostly protons, electrons and helium nuclei). Magnetic fields bend their trajectories, affecting how many of these particles fall into one or other point of space.

However, until now there was no evidence that space is a superconductor. On Earth, even lead or tin in natural conditions is extremely rare in its pure form, to say nothing of the complex superconducting alloys or compounds.

the Fragment of the meteorite Mundrabilla.Photo James Wampler.

experts from the US set out to find corprewogniki in meteorites. First, they are theoretically determined which of the variety of celestial stones provide greater chances for success. Given this information, the scientists studied the wreckage of 15 different celestial bodies. And in the analysis of two samples he was lucky.

the Researchers found a superconducting grain in the fragment rich in iron meteorite Mundrabilla found in Australia. Scientists believe that this piece of kernel large asteroid, which was initially melted, and then very slowly cooled.

Also superconductors was recorded in meteorite GRA 95205, picked up in Antarctica. It belongs to URALITA — a rare class of stone meteorites to be recognized by its unusual chemical composition. It is likely that this sample was influenced by strong shocks during collisions of celestial bodies.

In both cases, the fragments of the superconducting material was microscopic, and the experts had to use thin laboratory methods to detect.

the Experiment showed that the substance demonstrates superconductivity at a temperature of about -268 degrees Celsius. Experts identified it as an alloy of lead, tin, and India.

the Authors believe that superconductors can exist other types of meteorites and find them — in the future.

By the way, earlier “Conduct.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) wrote about the oldest magnetic recording in the Solar system.

Text: To.Science

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Jennifer Alvarez is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.