An image of modern Mars with the Hubble space telescope, left, and how a wetter Mars once looked according to studies using ESA’s Mars Express. Credit:NASA/ESA

Mars meteorite was briefly drenched in water

By Paul Sutherland
05 February 2013

(Sen) - A little over a century ago, residents of Nakhla, a town in Egypt, were startled by a sudden shower of stones from the sky. Unlike shooting stars, which are usually comet dust, these were chunks of rock, the remains of a larger object that broke up in the atmosphere.

Legend has it that one of the fragments killed a dog. But the most incredible fact about this shower of 1911 is that it was later discovered that the meteorites were from Mars.

You may wonder how anyone can tell this. The answer is that air found trapped inside the meteorites was analysed and found to be a match for the atmosphere of the Red Planet. It is thought that an asteroid that struck Mars around ten million years ago creating an explosion that melted surrounding rock and flung it into space. And after aeons floating in orbit around the Sun, some of this debris fell to Earth.

Read more: Mars meteorite was briefly drenched in water — Sen.

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