Washington: The Galactic radioactive plutonium puzzle seems to have finally been solved, as team of scientists have a suggested a solution to it.
The research held by a team of scientists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem have claimed that all the plutonium used on earth is artificially produced in nuclear reactors and still it turns out that it is also produced in nature.
Lead researchers Dr. Kenta Hotokezaka, Tsvi Piran and Prof. Michael Paul from the Racah Institute of Physics said that the origin of heavy elements produced in nature through rapid neutron capture by seed nuclei is one of the current nucleosynthesis mysteries.
The recent measurements of the deposition of plutonium-244, including analysis of Galactic debris suggest that only very small amount of plutonium has reached earth from outer space over the recent 100 million years.
The scientists have shown that these contradicting observations can be reconciled if the source of radioactive plutonium (as well as other rare elements, such as gold and uranium) is in mergers of binary neutron stars. These mergers are extremely rare events but are expected to produce large amounts of heavy elements.
The study is published in the Journal of Nature Physics. (ANI)