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Massive impact sent Martian meteorites to Earth

RATE THIS! +36
Posted in Science on 9th Mar, 2014 12:54 AM by AlexMuller

We've found over 100 meteorites here on Earth that originate from Mars. But how did they get here? That’s a question that has baffled scientists. Now, thanks to new data gained from the rovers on the surface of Mars (Curiosity and Opportunity), along with study of those meteorites, scientists now have an answer:

 

A large impact struck the red planet so hard that it sent pieces of Mars hurtling into space all at once, and they eventually fell to Earth.

 
Mars has its share of craters, but the Mojave Crater, close to the planet’s equator, is where this impact most likely happened. This gouge on Mars’ surface measures about 34 miles wide and is where “shergotitte” (a type of Martian metorite made of volcanic rock) comes from.
 
To confirm this, scientists studied the minerals present in the crater, as well as those found in the meteorites. Both contained about the same ratio of minerals.
 
These scientists not only figured out where this specific impact happened, but also when: about five billion years ago. They estimated the crater’s age by comparing it to the number of large craters in the same region. The idea is that an area with more large craters is older, since it's had more time to accumulate impacts.
 
However, previous estimates of the meteorites found on Earth had them younger than this. This team of scientists, though, believe factors on Earth are to blame for underestimating the rocks’ ages. Impacts, earthquakes and even volcanic activity broke up these meteorites, and once they reformed, they appeared younger.

Tags: spaceMarsmeteoritered planet

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+2
Very interesting research and a very useful connection between a specific crater on mars and meteorites that reached the earth - as sending humans to mars is many years away, meteorites remain an important source of information
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+3
Yes, and despite the fact that there are rovers on the surface of Mars -Curiosity and Opportunity- we have not been able to bring back samples from Mars to Earth for further study. We need to study meteorites that we have already found Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+0
I agree. While robotic missions to Mars continue to shed light on the planet's history, the only samples from Mars available for study on Earth are Martian meteorites. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+3
Studies of meteorites are ongoing. One recent headline from NASA scientists was that they found evidence of past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite, reviving debate in the scientific community over life on Mars.
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+1
For many finding water also supports the possibility that life existed on Mars or if they find some now- that it actually supports it now Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+0
For centuries people have speculated about the possibility of life on Mars due to the planet's proximity and similarity to Earth. It is time now to find out more

1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-09
+0
It seems that at some point Mars had liquid water on the surface and possibly the conditions for life to form. But the planet lost its atmosphere. The prime suspect is the sun, which has been peeling away the planet's atmosphere for billions of years. Reply
Reply
Reply


 

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