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Where do we come from? The answer varies depending on how far back you want to look. Researchers are studying the oldest meteorite grains to figure out the origin of our solar system. Some of the planet-making material may have resulted from another galaxy smacking into ours.
Around 4.6 billion years ago, our yellow star and its planet-filled disk arose out of a dense molecular cloud. Most of the details about this pre-solar environment were lost to heating of the primordial gas and dust, but some rocky grains escaped alteration and therefore preserve clues of our solar system's distant past.
"Presolar grains are the oldest materials in the solar system," says Philipp Heck of the University of Chicago. "The ages of the grains clearly indicate that they are older than the solar system."