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Monday, October 25, 2004



New Clues from Martian Meteorites

Artist's Rendering of Martian Material Transfer
Artist's Rendering of Martian Material Transfer
Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
Scientists at Yale University have developed a fascinating new technique for analyzing meteorites, specifically those from other planetary bodies such as Mars. Meteorites from Mars are thought to come to Earth by a large impact striking Mars, dislodging material that then floats in interplanetary space until caught by Earth's gravity. Using their method, they can precisely date the timing and temperature of this original impact.

This is very important for many reasons. So far, many of our observations about Mars are based on these meteorites, which can reveal the secrets of Mars without much of the cost. In fact, some of the most controversial research about Mars has come from meteorites, such as the 1996 announcement that NASA believed it had found evidence of Martian life in a meteorite from Antarctica. This fueled speculation about the idea of panspermia, which is the process by which life on one planet could come to another by natural means. Panspermia is thought by some scientists to account for the origin of life on Earth. More information about the meteorites and they way they reach Earth can have important implications for such theories.

(More info: EurekAlert!)


- posted by Brian @ 16:57 EST