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A. New Observation Offers Insight into the Solar System

Narrator: This is Science Today. Astrophysicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have gained new insight into the solar system after observing anomalies in the makeup of interplanetary dust particles.

Bradley: Interplanetary dust particles are very small grains of cosmic dust that are pervasive throughout the galaxy and are most abundant in the star forming regions and they're also abundant in the solar system.

Narrator: John Bradley, director of the lab's Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics, used electron and ion microscopes to find isotopic fingerprints within these particles of a pre-solar environment.

Bradley: So that means that the Earth was picking up pre-solar molecular material that's much more complicated than we had originally thought. And of course life is composed of relatively complicated molecules and this raises a very provocative suggestion that material that came from outside of the solar system may actually be relevant and a participant in the kinds of molecules that we got together ultimately to form life on Earth.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.