Heavy elements were formed in the solar system not as a result of a powerful supernova explosion somewhere nearby, but because of the merger of two neutron stars. A new article has appeared in the popular scientific publication Nature, which tells how metals such as plutonium and curium appeared on our planet.
American experts conducted a detailed analysis of the composition of the oldest asteroids, which are the remnants of "construction work", preserved from the times when the solar system was just being formed.
Asteroids, which cannot be said about the planets, were able to preserve the substances that were formed before the solar system, and almost in their original form. Of particular interest to scientists are curium-247 and plutonium-244, which could appear either as a result of a supernova explosion, or as a result of a combination of neutron stars.
To date, all the plutonium and curium nuclei, which are distinguished by a short life path, have long been disintegrated; nevertheless, minerals still contain their traces. To determine the origin of heavy elements in the composition of asteroids, the specialists used a special analysis technique that gave good results.
As it turned out, about 70% of the total plutonium contained in our star system was formed even before the appearance of the Sun. Plutonium and curium were born as a result of the fusion of neutron stars, which occurred a thousand light years from Earth eighty million years before the birth of our star.