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Mars Space Science

Rare Water-Rich Mars Meteorite Discovered 71

astroengine writes "A rare Martian meteorite recently found in Morocco contains minerals with 10 times more water than previously discovered Mars meteorites, a finding that raises new questions about when and how long the planet most like Earth in the solar system had conditions suitable for life. The meteorite, known as Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, is the second-oldest of 110 named stones originating from Mars that have been retrieved on Earth. Purchased from a Moroccan meteorite dealer in 2011, the black, baseball-sized stone, which weighs less than 1 pound, is 2.1 billion years old, meaning it formed during what is known as the early Amazonian era in Mars' geologic history. 'It's from a time on Mars that we actually don't know much about,' geologist Carl Agee, with the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, told Discovery News."
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Rare Water-Rich Mars Meteorite Discovered

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  • weee hooo (Score:5, Funny)

    by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) < minus punct> on Thursday January 03, 2013 @11:32PM (#42471267)

    I'm put'n the trailer back on the rocket. It's time to colomonize me some mars!

  • How does someone become a meteorite dealer?
  • NWA (Score:3, Funny)

    by AnderMoney ( 1001144 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:08AM (#42471545) Homepage
    Does anyone else think they could have picked a better acronym for Africa than NWA?
    • Northwest Africa (NWA)

      Africa's pretty big. It helps to divide it up.

  • Some questions (Score:2, Interesting)

    The article is very short on explanations. For instance:

    1/ When they say 'Martian meteorite' do they mean that it actually came from the surface of mars or rather than it's general origin was near to the orbit of mars?
    2/ What guarantees are there that this rock is actually from mars?
    3/ If so, how can you explain the parent meteor escaping the gravity well of mars? If this piece of rock is about a kilogram, then its entry mass must have been be quite large. The meteorite in California that was tracked with r

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Why would the article address any of those questions? That's like talking about solar flares and expecting an explanation of how hydrogen fuses into helium. Google methods for determining meteorite origins if you want to know.
      • Nah, I think it would be more like talking about meteorites from Mars and explaining whether the meteorite was from Mars.

    • Re:Some questions (Score:4, Informative)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Friday January 04, 2013 @05:18AM (#42473207) Homepage

      Funny that you can find a link to something that implies the claim is false... but that you can't be bothered to google on "martian meteorite []"... and if you did do so, you'd see one of the related searches is "how do martian meteorites get to earth []".

      Skepticism is useful, but get off your dead ass and be an informed skeptic rather than an ignoramus.

      • Well I do happen to know something of the topic, but thank you for your snide remarks. "Look it up" is the classic defense of a sectarian, not a scientist.

        Quoting from an article you can read here : []

        [page 4]

        "Two major mechanisms of impact-related meteorite ejection from Mars have been proposed: (1) acceleration of fragments by a shock wave in the solid rock... and (2) acceleration of fragments by the gas produced in a strong impact (which can be oblique).

        One should b

        • Well I do happen to know something of the topic

          From the questions you asked, that's not immediately obvious. In fact, from the questions you asked you appeared to be completely ignorant of the topic.

          "Look it up" is the classic defense of a sectarian, not a scientist.

          Had I been defending something, you'd have a point. What I was doing was answering your questions - something to which "here's the relevant links" is a completely valid answer. But it looks like you're not interested in answers.

          • The questions I proposed were not completely without foundation, and you noticed that I actually quoted an article. If you search Google you will get mostly fluff reponses like the article with no real arguments on the dynamic mechanisms that allow us to state that this particular rock actually came from Mars. The links you gave were not answers but just magical hand-waving: "look it up on Google, here are links" . Those links don't answer the objections.

            The only real argument that can establish the non-ear

  • 1. How do we know that a rock is from Mars, especially when its composition is different from what we've found on Mars to date.

    2. How do rocks leave Mars' gravity well in the first place? Are they shrapnel from Mars being hit by big meteorites?

    • Re:Two questions... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbone ( 558574 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:52AM (#42471915)

      1. How do we know that a rock is from Mars, especially when its composition is different from what we've found on Mars to date.

      Isotope ratios and certain element ratios. These depend on the history of a planetary body, and you can rule out every planet / asteroid but Mars. I always liked the conclusion in this paper [] :

      There seems little likelihood that the SNCs are not from Mars. If they were from another planetary body, it would have to be substantially identical to Mars

      Of course, there is no such other Mars in the solar system.

      The existence and composition of little atmospheric inclusions (i.e., tiny little bits of Martian air trapped in the rock) were another convincing piece of evidence for the Mars meteorites, as was the evidence of alteration by water.

      2. How do rocks leave Mars' gravity well in the first place? Are they shrapnel from Mars being hit by big meteorites?

      In a way. Suppose you have a big meteor hit (the size of the one that formed the Baringer Meteor Crater, or bigger). The meteor drills into the body and goes beneath the surface. At some point, it is stopped, and it dumps its kinetic energy into the body of the planet (i.e., for big impacts the meteorite explodes at depth). The shock wave is roughly spherical, and so the part directed upwards lifts up the surface above where the meteorite hit. Most of this material is lifted not much more than the depth of the explosion, forming the characteristic lip of the crater, and typically turning the layers in the rock upside down at the lip. Some of this material can be accelerated to much higher velocities, however, forming (for example) the rays of the new craters on the Moon. If the meteorite is really big, some of the surface material is accelerated to escape velocity and away it goes. After a little while (a few dozen to no more than a million years), some material will hit another planet. Mars and Earth have been trading material like this for the life of the solar system.

      The really amazing thing is that some of the material ejected is not treated too roughly. Spores and seeds etc. could definitely survive the trip.

      • Thank you for that. :)
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      How do we know that a rock is from Mars?

      Look for the label "Made on Mars".

  • We spend $2 billion on a Mars rover, and then Wham!, a Mars rock lands on somebody's ass.

  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @03:00AM (#42472675) Journal
    In other news, Martian authorities report that a rare Earth meteor has been discovered to contain 10 times as much fissionable material as found in previous Earth meteorites. The finding calls into question previous assumptions within the scientific community that Earth may contain little fissionable material and therefore was deemed unlikely to support life. Still, some Martians are asking tough questions: "How do you know it came from Earth? Where's your proof? How do we know you're not just trying to save your precious space budget when we have more important things to worry about, like climbing out of the so-called Fiscal Crater?"
  • When the Martians come here to do their anal probes, are they looking for water?
    Just asking!

  • Venus is most like Earth in the solar system, not Mars.

  • > Purchased from a Moroccan meteorite dealer in 2011

    How do I get a job like that? Does anyone know someone that needs a house clearance or some such that may pop up a couple of meteorites I could stick on Ebay?

    (I'll name all my meteorites after music acts: NWA 7034, The Rolling Stones 2309, The meteorite formerly known as Prince 3476...)

    • Just get some random rocks from your garden, paint them black and call them meteorites. The sort of rich twats who collect things won't know the difference (and you're hardly going to make much money flogging them to museums).
  • WHEREAS we have spent an incredible amount of money sending probes to Mars looking for traces of water only to find it on a meteorite that has impacted Earth;

    WHEREAS an inordinate amount of science has been conducted by lazy couch potato researchers utilizing passive methods of data collection of the cosmos, and this phenomenon in combination with illicit 64oz 'Big Gulp' sales has resulted in an epidemic of obesity among our revered scientists;

    WHEREAS several years' drought have reduced the yield of the ann

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