As Princeton scientists examine tiny fragments of a meteorite that landed on Earth some 15,000 years ago, they find something astonishing. To begin with, the experts discover that pieces of the rock are composed of an incredibly rare mineral called khatyrkite – which in itself is rather remarkable. But as it happens, that’s not the only surprise in store. You see, the khatyrkite contains a crystalline structure that seems to defy the laws of Earthly physics. In fact, it looks rather alien.
And while researchers had twice uncovered similar crystalline materials in the Khatyrka meteorite, this new discovery isn’t identical to those earlier finds. All three clusters are different, although it appears that each of these so-called quasicrystals have a common property.