Scientists examining a 2 billion-year-old rock from Mars that landed in the Sahara desert say it holds a large amount of water for a Martian meteorite.
Experts at the University of New Mexico say the rock has about 30 times the water of other Mars meteorites. They say this could lead to a better understanding of how Mars turned from a warm moist planet into a cold and dusty desert.
The scientists also say the rock is very similar to the volcanic rocks found by NASA’s Spiritand Opportunity Mars rovers.
A Moroccan man found the meteorite in the Sahara desert last year. He sold it to an American collector who turned it over to the university for study.
Scientists are calling the rock a one-of-a-kind specimen.
(Photo: In this image from NASA’s Curiosity rover, a rock outcrop called Link pops out from a Martian surface that is elsewhere blanketed by reddish-brown dust. The fractured Link outcrop has blocks of exposed, clean surfaces. Rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple inches (few centimeters) in size are in a matrix of white material. Many gravel-sized rocks have eroded out of the outcrop onto the surface, particularly in the left portion of the frame. The outcrop characteristics are consistent with a sedimentary conglomerate, or a rock that was formed by the deposition of water and is composed of many smaller rounded rocks cemented together. Water transport is the only process capable of producing the rounded shape of clasts of this size: Nasa