Saturday, 5 January 2013

Meteorite from Mars

A Martian meteorite, nicknamed Black Beauty, contains more water than any other rock found from the Red Planet. The space stone, discovered in Morocco, is believed to come from the Martian crust 2.1 billion years ago. It weighs about 320g and has 10 times more water than other Martian rocks. Black Beauty is made up of cemented fragments of basalt, mostly feldspar and pyroxene, most likely from volcanic activity.
It tells us what volcanism was like on Mars two billion years ago. It also gives us a glimpse of ancient surface and environmental conditions on Mars that no other meteorite has ever offered. It is believed that the large water content comes from the interaction of water-logged rocks in Mars’ crust. The rock also has a different mixture of oxygen isotopes than most Martian meteorites, which could have come from interaction with the planet’s atmosphere.
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