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But outer Space,

At least this far,

For all the fuss

Of the populace

Stays more popular

Than populous.

--Robert Frost

Something, there is, about the stories of space. Whether the news is about our scientists getting the first picture of a black hole, or a strange object passing by this blue planet, or maybe watching The Right Stuff for the umpteenth time, some of us can't get enough. For proof, see those flocking to the latest Star Wars flick. We'll pay good money to be in awe.

The latest came across the wires late in the week: Scientists have found a brand new mineral in a meteorite. The papers say the news has "set geologists abuzz." And you know how those geologists like to party.

It's called "edscottite," and you can make it in metal shop. Edscottite, apparently, is one of the phases iron goes through when it's smelted into steel. But it has never been seen in nature before.

Before.

Scientists in Australia, more precisely in Museums Victoria, have cut into a meteorite and found the stuff. The Age newspaper in Melbourne quoted Stuart Mills, Museums Victoria's curator of geosciences: "We have discovered 500,000 to 600,000 minerals in the lab, but fewer than 6,000 that nature's done itself."

Another scientist--Geoffrey Bonning of the Australian National University--thinks the meteorite was blasted out of the core of another planet, a la Alderaan. That planet, he speculates, was created by a bunch of asteroids clumping together, and as the planet heated up, all the hot metals were drawn to the core and heated/cooled as happens, eventually leading to edscottite.

Then another planet might have smashed into the first planet, or a moon was drawn into it, or a Death Star got involved, sending the chuck o' debris flinging through space, until it fell to us, literally.

That is, after probably spending a few million years in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Who says there's not much out there?

Robert Frost did. But we'd rather hear another space poem read out loud. It's by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and it advises to smell the roses once in a while, or rather, take a good look around yourself from time to time, and enjoy. And be amazed at what's there to see:

Look at the stars! look,

look up at the skies!

O look at all the fire-folk sitting

in the air!

The bright boroughs,

the circle-citadels there!

Down in dim woods the diamond

delves! the elves'-eyes!

The grey lawns cold where gold,

where quickgold lies!

Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set

on a flare!

Flake-doves sent floating forth

at a farmyard scare!

Ah well! it is all a purchase,

all is a prize.

--The Starlight Night

Editorial on 12/28/2019

Print Headline: Edscottite recipe

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