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  Question: Asteroids and Earth-Type Elements

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Author Topic:   Question: Asteroids and Earth-Type Elements
garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-28-2013 05:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A friend sent the question below. Can anyone answer this? Or refute his initial statement? Thanks in advance.

Since, to the best of my knowledge, only Earth elements have been found in asteroids et al that hit us, and other planets that we have 'visited'; is it assumed that the entire universe is made up only of elements that are found here on Earth?

Blackarrow
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Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 03-28-2013 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as I am aware, all matter in the Universe consists of the elements in the Periodic Table. There are no "unknown" elements lurking between the known elements. At the upper end of the Periodic Table there are some very short-lived elements which probably do not exist in nature, and decay in tiny fractions of a second, so they would not survive in asteroids or meteors floating through space.

There certainly may be minerals in alien rocks which we have not seen on Earth, but they will still consist of the familiar elements.

Sceptic1
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Posts: 23
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2010

posted 03-28-2013 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sceptic1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most of our knowledge of the composition of the Universe comes, not by examining the actual substance, but from the spectral analysis of starlight which reveals the same elements found on Earth are present even in distant galaxies. The theory that the elements are universal is therefore based on direct observational evidence; not an assumption.

David Bryant
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Posts: 903
From: Norfolk UK
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 03-29-2013 01:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is, perhaps, feasible that 'Islands of Stability' exist beyond the group 7 elements with stable isotopes as yet undiscovered on Earth: theoretically, an isotope of 'Unbihexium' with mass number of 310 and atomic number of 126 might be stable. If so, it might be found as a fusion product in supernova debris. I wouldn't mind betting that very few labs are checking pre-solar grains for these elements!

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-29-2013 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you all. Great resource!

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 03-29-2013 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
David, your reference to "islands of stability" takes me back. I remember a press report in the Sunday Times (I have it somewhere) from the late 1970s which was the first time I ever heard of this term. Since then, I think one or two of the postulated elements might actually have been found.

All times are CT (US)

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