Scientists from the University of New Mexico have confirmed the discovery of a surprising Martian meteorite, the first from the crust of Mars and which contains a large content of water that could enclose secrets about the history of the Red Planet.
Researchers have found that the meteorite, which landed in northwest Africa, contains more water remains than any other fragment from Mars, according to a communique from the university released Thursday.
The sample dates back some 2.1 billion years, when Mars was at the start of its most recent geological epoch known as the Amazonian.
The statement said that the meteorite, dubbed NWA 7034 (for North West Africa), interacted with the Martian atmosphere some 2.1 billion years ago, which would explain the abundance of water molecules in the rock, some 6,000 parts per million.
"Perhaps most exciting is that the high water content could mean there was an interaction of the rocks with surface water either from volcanic magma, or from fluids from impacting comets during that time," said Andre Steele of the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory.
"It is the richest Martian meteorite geochemically, and further analyses are bound to unleash more surprises," he said.
Researchers believe the meteorite's chemistry suggests that it comes from the crust of Mars or the upper mantle, something scientists have never seen before. EFE