In 2005, Western University cosmochemist Audrey Bouvier, with the assistance of Maud Boyet of Blaise Pascal University, discovered the presence of Neodymium-142 ( 142Nd; an isotope of the chemical neodymium). This has been found in not only terrestrial objects, but in other planetary materials as well, through the use of thermal ionization mass spectrometry.
The duo made this discovery by analyzing chondrites, a mineral-infused meteorite that are often referred to as “Earth’s building blocks” amongst the scientific community. A detailed analysis of these stony structures revealed that traces of 142Nd are evident within these meteorites. Contrary to popular belief that the isotope was developed on Earth, as the planet itself developed in its early stages. Further research that was conducted helped shed light on the fact that neodymium was evident in extraterrestrial structures as well, though in different forms of isotope. Thus, they drew the conclusion that Earth’s origins may be more closely linked to that of other planets than the scientific community may have thought. More research is being conducted to confirm further validity of these claims.
Cosmochemist Audrey Bouvier perfectly sums up the major impact of these findings with but two simply phrased quotes. She states, "How the Earth was formed and what type of planetary materials were part of that formation are issues that have puzzled generations of scientists. And these new isotopic measurements of meteorites provide exciting answers to these questions about our origins and what made the Earth so special." Not only did these findings completely reshape how we define “the beginning of time”, but these findings of Boyet and Bouvier are causing quite a stir in the scientific community to this day. As well as their work leading to yet even more research to be conducted on the topic. By building off of this research scientists can find a more definitive answer to how the Earth came to be.