A PhD student looking into what scientists regard as the most important space rock ever to be recovered in the UK has said: “It’s pretty exciting”.

Niamh Topping, 23, is in her first year at the University of Leicester, studying water and rock reactions in the early solar system.

The Winchcombe meteorite crashed on the Gloucestershire town of Winchcombe in 2021.

Studies suggest it contains water that is a near-perfect match for that on Earth.

Ms Topping said: “By looking at something like Winchcombe, we’re effectively looking back about 4.6bn years into the past to when the planets and the Solar System were forming.

“So, it tells us more about how they formed and, sort of, where we came from as well.”

Video journalist: Chris Waring

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