Recently, a Japanese oil company conducting operations at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean found something totally unexpected: plutonium from outside the Solar System. Plutonium that can help us better understand how this radioactive material is formed and what is its origin.

The plutonium remains found by the Japanese company were handed over to a group of scientists who now, finally after analyzing it, have published their results in the journal Science. The conclusion? It is not plutonium from this planet, it is a much “younger” one that probably comes from outer space. Anyway, there is no need to panic, there are tiny amounts and not at all as radioactive as other places on the planet.

According to the research, the plutonium found is approximately 10 million years old. While that’s barbaric and much older than humanity has been on planet Earth, it’s still really young compared to the rest of the plutonium we have.

It is for this reason that researchers believe it formed elsewhere in space and somehow ended up on Earth. Ending up on Earth is not the big mystery, after all it could have arrived in a meteorite or any object that ended up hitting the Earth and sinking in the Pacific Ocean. The big mystery is what formed this plutonium.

After resting for millions of years on the ocean floor, it is now finally possible to analyze it in detail. The cosmic origins of elements such as plutonium, gold and platinum are still not entirely clear. This plutonium for example could come from a huge supernova, the fusion of neutron stars or any other particularly powerful cosmic event.

Understanding and studying this plutonium can help us understand how the Universe has created other elements such as uranium, gold or platinum. Powerful stars out there are causing plutonium, gold, uranium and other elements of the periodic table to rain down on us.

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