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Green Meteorite Found In Morocco May Be From Mercury 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the hot-rock dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news that a meteorite found in Morocco might be from Mercury. "The green rock found in Morocco last year may be the first known visitor from the solar system's innermost planet, according to meteorite scientist Anthony Irving, who unveiled the new findings this month at the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas. The study suggests that a space rock called NWA 7325 came from Mercury, and not an asteroid or Mars."
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Green Meteorite Found In Morocco May Be From Mercury

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Obviously it's Kryptonite

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:28PM (#43327245)

    I'd guess it was "Straight Outta Compton"

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:37PM (#43327279)
    My guess is it's a snot rocket from God.
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Would an omnipotent being have or need boogers?

      • by chill (34294) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:46PM (#43327321) Journal

        A fan of H2G2 you are not.

        Creator of the universe as claimed by adherents of the faith on planet Viltvodle VI. Their legend has it that the universe was sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure, and they thus live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Garridan (597129)
        Uhm, he didn't need the booger, so he launched it at us. Duh? Omnipotence gets pretty boring. Gotta mix it up for funsies.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Would an omnipotent being have or need boogers?

        "Need"? Who doesn't need a green radioactive space booger.

        If I was an omnipotent deity, radioactive space boogers would be like the first thing on my list.

        What do you think caused the extinction of the dinosaurs for chrissake?

  • Dumb Question: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theVarangian (1948970) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:40PM (#43327295)
    Lets break up the inevitable flood of cheesy Kryptonite jokes... I am no expert in astrogeology but I can still see how it is possible to tell that a rock dropped to Earth from space, it will have signs of being heated during entry into the Earth's atmosphere etc... I can also see how there might be a difference between planetary rocks formed during geological processes under the influence of gravity and objects that formed in space. But how is it possible to prove beyond a doubt that a rock came from a particular planet/moon in the solar system?
    • Re:Dumb Question: (Score:5, Informative)

      by emurphy42 (631808) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:47PM (#43327329) Homepage
      From TFA:

      NWA 7325 has a lower magnetic intensity — the magnetism passed from a cosmic body's magnetic field into a rock — than any other rock yet found, Irving said. Data sent back from NASA's Messenger spacecraft currently in orbit around Mercury shows that the planet's low magnetism closely resembles that found in NWA 7325, Irving said.

      Messenger's observations also provided Irving with further evidence that could support his hypothesis. Scientists familiar with Mercury's geological and chemical composition think that the planet's surface is very low in iron. The meteorite is also low in iron, suggesting that wherever the rock came from, its parent body resembles Mercury.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:53PM (#43327359)

      We just compare with the samples we've already taken from Mercury, Duh!

      • We just compare with the samples we've already taken from Mercury, Duh!

        Those non-existent ones you mean? We have not retreived any samples from Mercury.

    • two main methods: magnetic properties, and chemical composition.

      For instance, we know that rocks have fallen to Earth from Lunar impacts, but we didn't know until Apollo returned with samples, exactly what we were looking at. Turns out that Lunar rock is pretty much identical to Terran rock, with some minor differences in magnetic striation (the Moon doesn't have a magnetic field so rocks formed after the formation of the Moon, and lava fields in particular, have no discernible magnetic field, however a clu

    • by kwerle (39371)

      You and me, both. I reckon this mostly amounts to sensationalistic crap. The guess is they're 4.5 billion years old.
      In theory, that's about how old the earth is
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_evolutionary_history_of_life [wikipedia.org]
      which is also about the age of Mercury.

      So the meteorite is about the age of the planets.

      Who the hell knows where it's really from? What does origination mean if there weren't distinct planets, yet? What the hell do we know about material that old - how much of it have we studied

    • by Medievalist (16032) on Monday April 01, 2013 @11:05AM (#43330867)

      But how is it possible to prove beyond a doubt that a rock came from a particular planet/moon in the solar system?

      Well, there's only one way, really. You go to that planet or moon, pick up a rock, and bring it home. We can prove beyond a doubt that the moon rocks the astronauts brought home did, in fact, come from Earth's moon. At least, that's where they most recently came from before coming to Earth.

      However, in "Science Journalism" which is something loosely inspired by sloppy research and egregious overstatements made by scientists while pumping for grants and attention, if a rock has characteristics that resemble the characteristics of rocks found on some other planet or moon, we confidently state that it came from there. It's called "leaping to conclusions", and misrepresenting hypotheses in this way is a big industry that forms the basis of Science Journalism.

      Take the Big Bang theory for an example. We have a working theory, based on a real observation (that all matter we can detect appears to be expanding outwards from a point) and nobody has come up with a better explanation (yet) so in the world of Science Journalism it's an incontrovertible fact that all matter was once contained in a single point. See how that works? You just jump straight from "this is an idea that represents a possibility, which we can work with" to "this is absolute truth that only heretics and savages don't worship".

      It's this kind of abandonment of logic and reason, and the substitution of pseudo-scientific dogma for true skepticism or conditional belief, that allows stuff like global warming denialism to prosper. You deflect the conversation from what's reasonable and logically provable to a discussion of the relative stature of the priests, er, I meant scientists, and their religious, er, I meant political affiliations. Evidence be damned, I have magazines.

    • by mladams (2745625)

      The title of the article indicates that the rock might be from mercury, so there is no one claiming to have proved it's origin. However, there is the possibility of being pretty certain. (the main question being how did it get from Mercury to Earth?)

      Spectroscopy lets us know what Mercury is made of and comparing this rock to what we know of mercury will allow scientists to determine the likelihood of a rock coming from that planet.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectroscopy/ [wikipedia.org]

    • by Sigg3.net (886486)

      Science is not about proving things beyond a doubt, only ruling out possibilities and discussing the most likely candidates, reaching a consensus until new evidence is found.

  • it get green? Left in the fridge too long?

    • Maybe the rock oxidized once in our atmosphere and thus changed color?

    • by billstewart (78916) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:14PM (#43328001) Journal

      Apparently there are very few green-colored mercury compounds*; most of them tend to be reddish or white. So if the mercury you left in the fridge is turning green, because you've got a bunch of chromate ions floating around inside, you've got at least two problems in your fridge... and you don't usually see that kind of behaviour in a major appliance.

      (* That's based on Google/Wikipedia searches; it's been a while since I've done real chemistry, and it's possible there's also some green organometallic mercury compound, but most of the ones I could find were reds or whites. It's also possible that you've got some mercury-tolerant molds growing on the organic debris floating on top of your bowl of mercury, but I'm still not gonna eat anything from your fridge.)

  • ObTOS (Score:4, Funny)

    by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @07:55PM (#43327371)
    "Captain, this visitor appears to be a green rock."

    "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it."

    "Green life? Ok, Bones, leave the ... diplomacy to me!"

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:10PM (#43327445)

    Are they sure it's not green cheese from the Moon?

  • by houbou (1097327)
    Maybe it's from Krypton! :P
  • What is the use of the article without a picture of the said meteorite.
  • Seriously its a real article, thought the april fools had kicked in

  • Meanwhile, in Kansas, a farmer and his wife are happy to announce the birth of their son. According to friends and family, Martha never appeared pregnant, not for a day.

    • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @11:04PM (#43328171)

      You're obviously not from a rural town. Whenever an older woman who never appeared pregnant magically shows up with a baby, that means her 16 year-old daughter who went to "California" for a year got knocked up. "Krypton" ain't nothing but the back seat of Jed's Camaro; coincidentally on his "hey y'all watch this" night down at that abandoned nuclear silo.

  • I'm sure some superstitious Islamists will take it a green rock as a sign from Allah. The crazy stories/claims that emerge should be amusing.

    ps. for those that don't know, green is the color of Islam (and in other cultures in ages past, of demons and Satan himself; although its all anti-scientific and conrtadictory superstitious nonsense; just letting ya know the trivia).

    • I think we should leave the making up of crazy shit to the crazies, whithout adding an extra layer of "crazy shit I suppose they would make up" to it. There's enough bullcrap around without that ;)
  • by rossdee (243626)

    Do they have April 1st in Morocco, or do they run on an Islamic calendar

  • This sounds like the frivolous science from the past decades. Before this meteorite from 'Mercury' there was a meteorite allegedly from 'Mars'. They even fooled poor president Clinton to utter upon it. http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/snc/clinton.html [nasa.gov]

    It is April 1st today, but these mercurian reports from a dude called Irving came yesterday.

    Don't the scientists at NASA and elsewhere have anything better to do than identify earthlings rocks as extraterrestrial. Self-deception is indeed a strong force, but this is ge

    • by Jiro (131519)

      Your link refers to a particular Mars meteorite that some people thought might contain evidence of life.

      You've misunderstood that. The meteorite is from Mars. The "life" part was questionable, but the "Mars" part was real. Nobody was "fooled" into thinking it's from Mars; it's really from Mars, and scientists haven't changed their mind about that.

      • by G3ckoG33k (647276)

        Yes, the life argument was bad, but so were the arguments supporting a Martian origin.

        You have been misled in how well supported they are.

        "While the claim remains highly controversial" http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8004 [newscientist.com]

        "At first ALH84001 was misclassified, so it wasn't until 1993 that researchers even realized the rock came from Mars. That was interesting enough, because at the time fewer than a dozen Martian meteorites were known to science. But ALH84001 also turned out to be much more ancient than

        • by Jiro (131519)

          You are taking that sentence out of context. That article absolutely does not say that it is controversial that the meteorite came from Mars. The only part that is controversial is the part about the life. It's right there in the article:

          While the claim remains highly controversial, the JSC scientists say further study has bolstered the evidence for fossilised life in ALH84001.

          Furthermore, the article is actually about locating where on Mars the meteorite comes from. At no point does it ever say that th

          • by G3ckoG33k (647276)

            [I've been on vacation]

            Ok, the other one.

            Why was it 'misclassified'? What on Earth could have led them to have it 'misclassified'?

            In other words, how many minerals on Earth are sufficiently similar to have it misidentified?

            Without knowing the answer, I would guess many.

  • It's from Northwest Airlines flight 7325, more specifically, it's from your anus.
  • The meteorite that landed in Morocco was described in Sky_and_Telescope for May 2013, pg 12, with a photo of a 5 cm rectangular bright green fragment. The bright green mineral is diopside. Spectra from Mercury messenger match Ensteite, both minerals have large amounts of Mg and Ca, but are typically lower in Fe. The chemistry of the meteorite and the geochemistry measured from space are close but not exact. Mercury has one of the most battered surfaces in the solar sytstem and I thought that its greater ave

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