Dating The Universe's Origins

Tiny water droplets found in a meteorite may date to the beginning of the universe, a NASA researcher said.

Droplets about one-tenth the width of a human hair were discovered in the so-called Zag meteorite, a 300-pound rock that broke into pieces when it struck a remote area of Morocco. The droplets could be billions of years old.

Michael Zolensky, the space agency researcher who found water in both the Zag and another meteorite that fell in West Texas last year, said the discoveries suggest water may be trapped in many space rocks.

Zolensky and other scientists from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston announced last month they had discovered tiny pockets of briny water in the 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite found in Texas.

It provided the first close look at water not originating on Earth.

Zolensky's latest discovery came after he took a closer look at a small chunk of the Morocco meteorite found in 1998. The water was located in crystals of sodium chloride that the Zag and West Texas rocks both contained, Zolensky said.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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