Researchers from the University of Maryland have recently discovered three asteroids that appear to be roughly 4.55 billion years old
, dating back to the formation of the Solar System. The scientists say that the asteroids have survived relatively unchanged since that time, and make good candidates for future space missions
"'The fall of the Allende meteorite in 1969 initiated a revolution in the study of the early Solar System,' said Tim McCoy, curator of the national meteorite collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. 'I find it amazing that it took us nearly 40 years to collect spectra of these [CAI-rich] objects and that those spectra would now initiate another revolution, pointing us to the asteroids that record this earliest stage in the history of our Solar System.'"