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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Martian Meteorite Full of Bits of Black Glass
11 October 2012 2:00 pm
Nomads scouring the Moroccan desert have recovered fragments of a meteorite seen blazing across the sky on 18 July 2011. Analyses of those pieces, from a meteorite dubbed Tissint after a village in the region where the stones landed, reveal that the parent object had been blasted from Mars long ago. Many other martian meteorites have been collected, but this émigré from the Red Planet is only the fifth ever collected after it was seen falling to Earth, the researchers report online today in Science. The largest known fragment (above) weighs about 1.1 kilograms and, like many meteorites, is covered by a black veneer created during the stone's plunge through Earth's atmosphere. Unlike all but one other martian meteorite, however, many of the small cracks in the fragment contain bits of black glass (the black veins and pepperlike bits exposed on the broken surface of the meteorite). That glass formed when material that had eroded from the martian surface was melted by the impact that lofted material into space about 700,000 years ago. The presence of short-lived radioactive forms of several elements created when the meteorite was exposed to cosmic rays during its interplanetary trek to Earth—especially vanadium-48, which has a half-life of about 16 days—indicate that the fragments are associated with the recent meteorite fall, the researchers say.
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*Correction, 12 October: Contrary to our initial report, many of the meteorite fragments were collected by desert nomads, not by researchers.