Two teams of scientists manufactured – in a laboratory – a material that does not naturally exist on the planet. Until now, it has only been found in meteorites.

The compound, tetrataenite, was made by a team at Northeastern University in Boston and a team at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. If synthetic tetrataenite is found to work in industrial applications, it could make green-energy technologies significantly cheaper. According to this article, it could also shake up the rare-earth market currently dominated by China.

Tetrataenite is a combination of two base metals, nickel and iron, which were cooled over millions of years as meteoroids and asteroids tumbled through space. That process created a unique compound with a particular set of characteristics that make it ideal for use in the high-end permanent magnets.