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Credit: Graeme Churchard/flickr

Samples from the Mundrabilla meteorite, which was found in Australia in 1911, contain traces of alloys that are low-temperature superconductors.

For the first time, researchers have confirmed the presence of superconducting materials in meteorites, a result that may have implications for astrophysicists’ understanding of planetary formation. Using a highly sensitive detection technique, and a lot of persistence, researchers found superconducting alloys in two meteorites. The conditions that produced these meteors laced some of them with superconductors, and others may be lurking in outer space waiting to be discovered (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2020, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1918056117).

Researchers used a highly sensitive technique to examine 16 samples from two different meteorites, one formed in the iron core of an asteroid and one flung off a planet’s surface by a collision. They had reported at a meeting of the American Physical Society in 2018 that there were signs of superconductivity in these bodies, but now they’ve dug into the samples and used multiple techniques to identify which materials are responsible. In both samples, they found small amounts of materials that can become superconducting at

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