Analysis of a meteorite found in the Sahara desert revealed the existence of water on Mars 4.4 billion years ago, the scientists reported.
The mineral composition of the Mars meteor NWA 7533, found in 2012, shows the chemical signature of oxidation – which happens as water forms.
The 84-gram meteorite, partially named after its landing point in Northwest Africa, is part of a celestial rock that breaks when it enters Earth’s atmosphere.
Planetary scientists have known that there has been water on the Red Planet for at least 3.7 billion years.
But by the previously established NWA 7533 and its newly discovered mineral composition, researchers have now deduced that water existed for an additional 700,000 years prior to this estimate.
The Mars meteor NWA 7533, pictured here, is more valuable than its weight in gold. However, the scientists obtained a 50-gram sample for # analysis,
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPACE STOCKS
An small planet is a large mass of rock left over from collisions or in the early days of the solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
A comet is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them far further than the solar system.
A meteor is what astronomers call a light that flashes through the atmosphere when debris burns.
This fragment itself is called meteorite. Most are very small, so they vaporize in the atmosphere.
If any of these asteroids reach Earth, it is called meteorite piece.
Meteors, meteors and meteorites often originate from asteroids and comets.
If there was water on Mars earlier than thought, it would suggest that water could be a natural byproduct of some very early planet formation.
This could help answer the question of where water came from, which could in turn influence theories about the origin of extraterrestrial life.
Study author Professor Takashi Mikouchi at the University of Tokyo, said: “Our NWA 7533 samples have been subjected to four different types of spectroscopic analysis – chemical fingerprint detection methods.
‘We found strong evidence for magma oxidation.
‘The Igneous rocks, or fragments, in meteorites are formed from magma and are often caused by oxidation and action.
‘This oxidation could have occurred if water was present on or in the Martian crust 4.4 billion years ago in a collision that partially melts the crust.’
Analysis also showed that such an effect would release a lot of hydrogen.
”[This] Mikouchi said it will contribute to the warming of the planet at a time when Mars already has a dense insulating atmosphere of carbon dioxide.
If there was water on Mars earlier than previously thought, it suggests that water could be a natural byproduct of some early planet-formation process.
NORTH WEST MEASUREMENT METHOD
Weight: 84 g
Weight: 320 g
Nearly a decade ago, two meteors were discovered in the Sahara desert, Africa – NWA 7034, found in 2011 and NWA 7533, found in 2012, from which Mikouchi and colleagues have obtained. a sample for analysis.
NWA stands for North West Africa and the number is the order in which the meteorites are officially approved by Meteoritical Society, an international planetary science organization.
It is known that both meteors come from Mars, thanks to a comparison of the evidence gathered by Mars landers.
To confirm the Mars’ origin of the NWA 7533, comparisons are drawn from NASA’s Viking mission in the 1970s, when landing some of the earliest man-made tools on the Red Planet’s surface.
‘Some of these meteors contain trapped gas consistent with the Martian atmosphere analyzed by Mars expedition mission, the NASA Viking.’
The more famous NWA 7533 and NWA 7034, known as ‘Black Beauty’, belong to the same group of at least 10 fragments, all in varying amounts, according to Mikouchi.
“These Martian meteors have different oxygen isotope ratios, but are identical to other extraterrestrial materials, so we know they come from the same mother,” he told MailOnline.
Photo, Black Beauty, or NWA 7034. A 2013 study of the Mars meteorite determined it was 2.1 billion years old and contains lots of water.
‘They all fell to Earth by the same event, but could be fragmented during atmospheric intrusion and scattered across the Sahara desert.
‘Later they were picked separately and the fragments had different names.’
In 2013, NWA 7034 was 2.1 billion years old – the second oldest meteorite on Mars after NWA 7533.
At the time, the cricket ball-sized meteorite contained more evidence of water than any other Martian meteorite found on Earth, the scientists said.
Part of the NWA 7034 was donated to the University of New Mexico by an American who purchased it from a Moroccan meteorite dealer.
Many of the Martian meteorites that exist today were found in the Sahara by the Bedouin tribesmen who knew that these rocks could be sold for quite a premium on the Casablanca market.
The new research has been published in the journal Science Advances.
WHAT IS METEORITE NWA 7034 – KNOW WHAT’S BLACK?
Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, nicknamed Black Beauty, led to the creation of a new meteorite layer when it was discovered in 2011 in the Sahara desert.
NWA 7034’s It weighs about 11 ounces (320 grams).
After more than a year of research, in 2013, a group of American scientists determined that this meteorite formed 2.1 billion years ago.
This is the beginning of the most recent geological period on Mars, known as the Amazonian.
Previous Nasa studies have also found that Black Beauty contains about 10 times more water than other meteorites on Mars.
NWA 7034 is made from fragments of basalt, the rock formed from lava that cools quickly.
The fragments are mainly feldspar and pyroxene, most likely from volcanic activity.
The chemistry of this unusual asteroid matches that of the Martian crust as measured by NASA’s Mars Expedition Aircraft and Mars Odyssey orbit.
The researchers hypothesized that the large amount of water contained in NWA 7034 could be derived from the interaction of rocks with water in Mars’ crust.
This meteorite also has a different mixture of oxygen isotopes than those found in other Martian meteorites, possibly the result of interactions with the Martian atmosphere.