A new variant of titanium oxide was discovered less than two days ago at Caltech, embedded within the famous Allende meteorite, which crashed on Earth in 1969. Using electron diffraction, mineralogists found the mineral, named panguite after the Chinese legend of Pan Gu, in a refractory incursion (RI). In the early stages of the formation of the Solar System, condensation of pre-solar gases at high temperature and pressure resulted in the formation of refractory liquids, which then solidified into RIs, which are called so because of their stability in extreme conditions. Thus, the contents of the panguite in situ play a crucial role in understanding the birth of our extended home.
Science writer and editor in Bangalore, India.