PISA, Italy, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Italian explorers and geologists in the Antarctic report finding the world's largest and oldest cache of meteorite particles.
Some 1.35 million bits of space dust were found while the group led by Luigi Folco of Pisa University was on an expedition in the Transatlantic Mountains, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday. The researchers say the dust could offer possibilities on how life began on Earth.
The explorers found balls of Earth glass and other material that came "from a gigantic cosmic impact," Folco said, that probably occurred in Indonesia.
Folco and his team said many of the particles are ''gigantic," permitting tests that "were impossible up till now."
The discovery will allow scientists to trace meteorite showers dating back 1 million years ago, ANSA said.
The space particles have been taken to Siena University. The researchers' study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in America.