After traveling millions of years, some eventually landed on
Earth, becoming the biggest of three main types of meteorites
hailing from the Red Planet.
Now researchers say they have pinpointed the source of those Martian
meteorites classified as the "shergottites." The finding, if
confirmed, would give scientists fresh insights into Mars' history
"If one were able to say, 'Oh, this Martian meteorite is from
exactly this spot on Mars,' then that would have significant added
value to what you could get out of it," said Carl Agee, meteorite
curator and director of University of New Mexico's Institute of
"We'd know exactly what material it is made of, we'd know how old it
was when it formed. You'd get more of the missing pieces of the
puzzle of how Mars formed," Agee said.
University of Oslo planetary scientist Stephanie Werner and
colleagues say they have done just that.
The shergottites, Werner said, come from a 34-mile (55-km) wide
impact basin known as Mojave Crater in the planet's equatorial
The scientists point to the crater's large size, relative youth and
chemical composition as good matches for the shergottites, which
account for about 75 percent of the roughly 150 Mars meteorites
found so far.
Others say the evidence is far from ironclad.
"The (study) strikes me as somewhat speculative," said Agee, who was
not involved in the research.
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Werner, for example, says the shergottites crystallized some 4.3
billion years ago, roughly the same age as the crater's original
But Agee said most scientists believe the shergottites are much
"I'm not convinced," Agee said.
Werner's research is published in this week's issue of the journal
(Editing by Kevin Gray and David Gregorio)
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