June 13, 2024

UFRJ will display a meteorite that is more than 4.5 billion years old

3 min read
Terceiro maior meteorito do Brasil está na UFRJ
The third largest meteorite in Brazil is located in the UFRJ
The third largest meteorite in Brazil is located at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Disclosure / UFRJ

The third largest meteorite in Brazil is already in the Museum of Geographical Diversity Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), in the northern region of Rio. Obtained through a collaborative fundraising movement and stimulated by the Research Support Foundation (Faperj), the rock will be shown to the public. In addition, Brazilian researchers will be able to study the formation of asteroid bodies and understand the formation and evolution of the solar system.

The meteorite is about 4.5 billion years old and fell on the planet more than a thousand years ago, after it was discovered on a farm in Campinorte – 300 km from Goiás. The remains were delivered to the university last Thursday (12).

The Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support in the State of Rio de Janeiro (Faperj) has donated R$350,000 to cover acquisition costs, transportation logistics and space preparation at the Museum of Geographical Diversity. In total, 365 thousand Brazilian reals were spent.

The discovery of the meteorite was recognized by the Meteoritical Bulletin (No. 99) in 2011, with nothing similar in the world. The meteorite consists mainly of metals (ferrous nickel), such as the well-known Bendegó and Santa Luzia, and the meteorite has been subjected to partial analysis – 20 grams have already been deposited in the UFRJ and 80 grams have been donated to the University of Alberta in Canada.

According to Maria Elizabeth Zucoloto, an astronomer at Museu Nacional/UFRJ, the university will possess the three largest meteorites found in Brazil.

“They’re bits of extraterrestrial bodies – in this case, asteroids. Millions of dollars are spent sending probes into space and collecting samples of this material, like the Hayabusa spacecraft, which collected a few grams from the asteroid Itokawa. With almost no cost in comparison, We can study asteroid bodies and understand the formation and evolution of the solar system,” said the professor.

The meteorite is different from every other meteorite in the world in that it is classified as “ungrouped” and, according to astronomy, has great scientific relevance.

“A meteorite of this classification has never been properly studied, and is a museum attraction because of its size,” Zucoloto said.

For UFRJ Institute of Earth Sciences Director Edson Farias Mello, “A specimen from one of these species is very important, not least because we are one of the parts of UFRJ studying the planet. Meteorites preserve the memory of the first moments of Earth formation. This is because they are material that arose at the very moment it appeared The planet, as accepted in the Big Bang theory. Unlike terrestrial matter, which has undergone many transformations since its formation, it remains unchanged. Therefore, they provide the exact age of the Earth.”

The Coppetec Foundation, the Geodiversity Museum, the UFRJ Science House, researchers from the National Museum, and many individuals who have embraced the idea of ​​the meteorite at UFRJ have all been involved in the collaborative movement. “Our goal was to bring an important Brazilian natural heritage that we want to continue in our country and to be an element to advance science education,” said Coppetec President, Fernando Peregrino.

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