from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. A small granule of extraterrestrial origin found in some meteoric rocks.
One of the scientists, Johan Villeneuve, told BBC News: 'we can now use the isotopes to measure the age of different chondrules, parts of meteorites, and understand far more about the early part of our Solar System'.
Chondrules were among the very first solid matter to form in the disk of gas and dust that eventually evolved into the sun, planets and asteroids.
Dynamic simulations of the early solar system show giant shock waves surfing across the protoplanetary disk from the orbit of Jupiter and striking circling dust grains with enough speed to fuse them. The result is chondrules, millimeter-size beads that make up the bulk of rocky meteorites and play an important role in planet formation.
'Chondrule' ultimately comes from the Greek word for 'cartilage.'