This could be the strangest micrometeorite in the world

It is our pleasure to introduce you to NMM 960, which we argue could be the strangest micrometeorite in the world.

This extraterrestrial rock was retrieved by yours truly, Jon Larsen, a couple of years ago and I distinctly recall the moment I viewed it under a microscope: I knew — immediately — that this was the weirdest micrometeorite thus far retrieved. Here’s why.

First, the stone itself is a “giant”, measuring approximately 0.5 mm. (Note: Most micrometeorites have a size of 0.2-0.3 mm.) Second, the stone has a color of translucent brown due to traces of the iron cation, Fe3+.

While these features do make it rare, its most bizarre feature is this: NMM 960 appears to be two distinct micrometeorites fused into one!

Upon inspection, I discovered that the upper part, which has a spherical shape, is a glass or vitreous (V) type. Whereas, the lower part, which is more elongated, is a cryptocrystalline (CC) type. And, by some miracle, here they are — bound together into one exceptionally strange micrometeorite!

What happened during formation? How could this have happened? Everything I know about micrometeorites tells me that this is not possible, yet here the evidence clearly contradicts me.

My colleague and dear friend, Jan Braly Kihle, who created the beautiful color image you see featured at the top of this post, has a favorite saying that is most appropriate:

“What’s possible, I leave to others.”

I do believe this puzzle of a micrometeorite is the physical manifestation of Jan’s favorite quote. Enjoy!

Below I have included a microscope image of NMM 960 taken by Dr. Martin D. Suttle and two scanning electron microscope (SEM) images taken by me, which reveal additional details.

Additional Images of NMM 960

An image of NMM 960 by Dr Martin D Suttle
NMM 960 photographed by Dr Martin D. Suttle.
A scanning electron microscope image of micrometeorite NMM by Jon Larsen
A rendered and edited SEM image of the same stone taken by Jon Larsen. © Project Stardust, 2022.
A scanning electron microscope image of micrometeorite NMM by Jon Larsen with data
Backscatter SEM image of NMM 960 by Jon Larsen. Note the amorph spheroid head, which is pit eroded, and crypyocrystalline aerodynamic droplet. © Project Stardust, 2022.

Lastly, dear reader, I’d like to thank you for spending your valuable time learning about micrometeorites with me. This work brings Jan and I so much joy and we’re so grateful to have a wonderful community to share it with.

If you have any comments about this fascinating micrometeorite or hypotheses about how NMM 960 may have come to be, please leave me a comment on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

Just in case you're new here!

Together we have amassed the world's most expansive collection of micrometeorites and we can't wait to share it with you.

Whether you're an expert in the field, an art collector with an appetite for treasures from space, or a budding stardust enthusiast, we hope you'll enjoy learning about our work.

Connect with us on social media to share the excitement of seeing new micrometeorites for the first time!

Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

We're so glad you're here!

COMING SOON

PROJECT STARDUST

I want priority access

Facebook

COME SAY HALLO

INSTAGRAM

Twitter