A chunk of Earth that could be 4.1 billion years old and is described as the planet's "oldest rock" may have been found and dug up on the Moon by Apollo astronauts, according to a new study.
The possible relic was discovered and dug up in 1971 and scientists believe that it was sent off Earth, thanks to a powerful impact, possibly an asteroid or a comet.
After colliding with the Moon (which at the time was three times closer to the Earth than it is now), it mixed with other lunar surface materials.
"It is an extraordinary find that helps paint a better picture of early Earth and the bombardment that modified our planet during the dawn of life," said study co-author David Kring, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, in a statement.
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Analyzing lunar samples collected by the Apollo 14 mission, the researchers found that the rock consisted of 0.08 ounces of quartz, feldspar and zircon, minerals that are fairly commonplace on Earth but "highly unusual on the Moon," according to the statement.