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article imageMars meteorite dubbed 'Black Beauty' is in a class of its own

By Eileen Kersey     Jan 4, 2013 in Science
2013 only begun four days ago and already there have been a fair few news stories relating to Space and its celestial beings. This latest one relates to a large meteorite found in the Moroccan dessert.
The large black rock was found in the Moroccan dessert in 2011. Only now have scientists been able to reveal that the rock is a type of Martian meteorite.
Scientists have nicknamed the 320g rock, Black Beauty, reports the BBC. Scientists have been analysing the 'rock' and have published details in Science online
Astonishingly they have been able to date 'black beauty'. They claim that the rock dates back to Early Amazonian Mars which means that the rock is just over two billion years old.
Scientists at the New Mexico University have been studying the rock and have now published their findings. The team were led by Carl Agee, "It has some resemblance to the other Martian meteorites but it's also distinctly different in other respects," he told BBC News, "both in the way it just looks in hand sample, but also in its elemental composition."
For readers who are interested in the teams findings:
We report data on the martian meteorite, Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, which shares some petrologic and geochemical characteristics with known martian (SNC, i.e., Shergottite, Nakhlite, and Chassignite) meteorites, but also possesses some unique characteristics that would exclude it from the current SNC grouping. NWA 7034 is a geochemically enriched crustal rock compositionally similar to basalts and average martian crust measured by recent rover and orbiter missions. It formed 2.089 ± 0.081 Ga, during the early Amazonian epoch in Mars' geologic history. NWA 7034 has an order of magnitude more indigenous water than most SNC meteorites, with up to 6000 ppm extraterrestrial H2O released during stepped heating. It also has bulk oxygen isotope values of Δ17O = 0.58 ± 0.05‰ and a heat-released water oxygen isotope average value of Δ17O = 0.330 ± 0.011‰, suggesting the existence of multiple oxygen reservoirs on Mars.
Yesterday NASA reported that the meteorite, named NWA 7034 (nicknamed "Black Beauty") had been studied and found to have come from Mars. Scientists are now hopeful that this 'rock' will help them solve many puzzles surrounding Mars. It could offer a link, reported EuroNews, between the warm, wet past and the cold, dry present on the planet Mars. It holds ten times more water than previous meteorites from Mars.
More about Meteorite, Morocco, black beauty, Meteors, Mars
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