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January 4 2013

Meteorite carries ancient water from Mars


It may just look like your average rock, but in fact it's an extra-special delivery from the red planet. Laboratory analysis has revealed that a specimen bought from a Moroccan meteorite dealer in 2011 is the first sample of Martian origin that is similar to the water-rich rocks examined by NASAís rovers.

The meteorite, dubbed Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, contains a concentration of water by weight about ten times higher than in any of the other 100 or so known Martian meteorites ó those rare rocks that get ejected from the Martian surface into space when an asteroid hits the planet, and eventually find their way to Earth. Itís also the only known Martian sample on Earth that hails from a critical period, about 2 billion years ago, when Mars is thought to have become colder and drier than it was originally.

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