There’s nothing more fascinating or TV special-worthy than twins separated at birth. Whether they’re reunited at 15 or 50 it’s safe to say that there’ll be some eerily similar food preferences and a whole lot of crying. But what about two chemically-identical grains of silica that haven’t seen each other for more than 4.6 billion years?
Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis found a single silica grain on a meteorite from Antarctica by inspecting the rock at 20,000x magnification. This tiny dot, which is essentially a grain of sand, is chemically identical to one found in a meteorite from the Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition. Scientists have found other silica grains in asteroids, but they have all been enriched in oxygen-17, which comes from healthy stars. However, both of the newly discovered silica grains contain heavier oxygen-18, which is only formed in specific processes of supernovae.
The appearance of these two grains of silica is so unlikely that researchers believe they originated in the same supernova. There is even speculation that they come from the explosion of gas and dust that started our solar system. Not to be hyperbolic, but this is definitely the biggest cosmic coincidence ever.