Meteorites From Mars Found on Earth

Eleven million years ago, a meteorite impact on Mars sent fragments to Earth, providing unique insights into Mars’ composition. Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography analyzed these Martian meteorites, collected from locations such as Africa and Antarctica.

These meteorites are the only physical pieces of Mars that we have. Their research is crucial for understanding Mars’ formation and evolution and it also helps inform current ongoing NASA missions like Insight and Perseverance.

Led by geologist James Day, the team focused on nakhlites and chassignites, meteorites originating from a single Martian volcano. These samples, identified by their unique compositions and young age, match the Martian atmosphere data from the 1970s Viking landers.

Published on May 31 in Science Advances, the study revealed that these rocks formed through fractional crystallization in a Martian volcano and included crustal material altered by the Martian atmosphere. These findings enhance our understanding of Mars’ internal structure and offer a glimpse into the conditions of early Earth.

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