Recent findings in this field:
Meteorites are a great source of information. They are the visitors from otherwise inaccessible places in our Solar System. They shed light onto the composition of the celestial object from which they were formed. Their study provides information on how and when these meteorites are formed and give scientists an opportunity to study the process, and the materials of the early solar nebula. They present a source to study pre-biotic chemistry, which prevailed in the early solar system and to correctly deduce the age of the solar system.
Meteorites are rich in carbon, which mainly appear as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are stable and the most common carbon compound in the space. But contrary to the normal PAH, those found in meteorites contain an extra oxygen or hydrogen. This abnormal PAH called quinones, formed by a number of chemical reactions, is believed to have laid the foundation for life on Earth.
The meteorites from the Mars and the Moon are studied to learn about the environmental and chemical nature of these celestial bodies.
The Antarctic is rich with meteorites. In 1991, a US meteorite search expedition in the Antarctic unearthed a meteorite, which is about 4.5 million years old. Since it was formed at a time when the solar system is believed to be forming, it is expected to provide information on the birth of the solar system. From the analysis of this meteorite, scientists concluded that gas-solid condensation within the solar nebula played a major role in its formation.
Even though extensive studies are conducted in the field of Meteoritics, there are a wealth of questions yet unanswered.