What happened to turn Mars into the planet we know today? Well, a new discovery in the desert of Morocco may have the answer to that question. An entirely new class of Mars meteorite was uncovered that is unlike any other type of Martian meteorite ever found on the surface of the planet Earth. The meteor is known as Northwest Africa 7034, or NWA 7034, which may be the coolest space junk nickname ever. Turns out, Mars still has more mysteries aside from its status as a planet made of table salt!
“It has some resemblance to the other Martian meteorites but it’s also distinctly different in other respects, both in the way it just looks in hand sample, but also in its elemental composition,” said Carl Agee of the University of New Mexico, whose team discovered the meteorite. “This rock is from two billion years ago and a lot of the SNCs are from only about 200-400 million years ago. And of course those most recent times on Mars have witnessed a cold, dry planet with a thin atmosphere. A lot of people believe that early Mars, on the other hand, was a lot warmer and a lot wetter, and maybe even a harbor for life. So, what happened in between? When did this transformation to drier conditions occur? Well, NWA 7034, because of its greater age, may be able to address those questions.”
True to Professor Agee’s belief, the new meteor has much more water than the average piece of Mars on Earth, about 10 times more. That would indicate that yes, Mars once had much more water than it currently does and the piece sampled is more like the soil of Mars today in terms of its mineral composition.
Tags: new type of martian rock discovered, new class of martian meteorite, meteorites, meteors, space rocks, mars, morocco, Northwest Africa 7034, nwa 7034, carl agee, university of new mexico, geology, ancient martian meteor chunk found in morocco, astronomy, new class of martian meteor found on earth, unusual discoveries