Barred olivine (BO-type) micrometeorites are the most common type, many of which have one or metal beads that are typically composed of nickel and iron. Occasionally, however, beads made of other materials are found.
At first glance, NMM 2081 is a rather ordinary BO-type micrometeorite. But under the scanning electron microscope (SEM) it soon became apparent that this is a very special spherule.
The SEM image created by yours truly and Siri Simonsen at the University of Oslo immediately revealed large chunks of superheavy platinum-group elements (PGEs). We can therefore conclude that this micrometeorite was forged in a supernova explosion.
Isn’t it incredible to think of this tiny speck of dust being flung into the interstellar medium, traveling an unfathomable distance for an incomprehensible amount of time, and finally making its way to us?
It is in these moments of discovery that this work becomes deeply meaningful to me. No matter how vast the space between us is, we are surrounded by profound connections; even if they are, by every imaginable measure, invisible.
P.S. NMM 2081 is the signature micrometeorite featured on the Home Page of our website and in all of our branding. This enchanting particle is also one of Jan Braly Kihle’s favorites. Enjoy!