January 6th, 2013 19:59 EST
NASA Finds Water on Martian Meteorite?
It`s funny and mysterious how the least little unsuspecting thing can turn out to be the missing link to unlocking or answering a piece of missing information we have been looking for while boggling our mind in trying to answer that one question, What?
NASA Scientists have been trying to answer that one question it seems since the beginning of time of what is the mysterious Red Planet all about? Mars has turned out to be the sort of `Black Sheep` planet to all the other planets in or solar system that scientists have sort of a fascination with. Could it be the many past movies we have seen where Mars was always the home to aliens that came to Earth to either study s or terrorize us in one of the many movies that have engrained a mark in all of our long-term memories (if you may be a move buff) or is it that scientists are on a mission to find the next planet that closely resembles ours when it comes to livable condition because scientist know we have destroyed our planet with the many chemicals that have basically rendered our protective o-zone layer as totaled or damaged beyond repair.
Recently, NASA`s funded research analyzed a small meteorite found in the Sahara Desert that contains ten times more water than other previous meteorites found on the surface of Mars that were said to be from other unknown origins. One of the main reasons that this little meteorite is so important to scientists is that is does contain a lot of water and water is of course one of the main ingredients needed to sustain life.
The little meteorite is known as NWA (Northwest Africa) 7034 because of where it was fond in the Sahara Desert. Scientists have also nicknames the little meteorite Black Beauty " It weighs approximately eleven ounces. NASA scientists have been studying the meteorite for over a year now and have fond that it was formed about 2.1 billion years ago which was within the geological period on Mars known as the Amazonian.
Mitch Schulte who is the Program scientist for the Mars Exploration at NASA Headquarters in Washington commented on this by saying, "The age of NWA 7034 is important because it is significantly older than most other Martian meteorites. We now have insight into a piece of Mars history at a critical time in its evolution." (Schulte, M.)
So, the little Meteorite discovered has turn out to possibly answer two questions that scientists have been boggling their minds trying to find the answers to and that is, what is Mars all about? And could Mars turn out to be our next Earth? I the meteorite turns out to be from the surface or crust of the surface of Mars and since it contains a lot of water in it then it could prove that water does exist on Mars and since the meteorite is 2.1 billion years old it would more than likely contain a ton of the past in it about the Red Planet that would give scientists answers they have been looking for about Mars.
NASA is about 99.9% sure that the meteorite did come from the surface of Mars because it has been matched with the surface rocks and outcrops that have been recently studied by the Mars Rover and the satellites orbiting the outskirts of Mars. It has also turned out to be the `Black Sheep` of the other meteorites studied from Mars because its surface composition is different from the other meteorites previously studied.
John Grunsfeld, associate administrator who is NASA`s Science Mission Directorate in Washington said, "The contents of this meteorite may challenge many long held notions about Martian geology. These findings also present an important reference frame for the Curiosity rover as it searches for reduced organics in the minerals exposed in the bedrock of Gale Crater." (Grunsfeld, J.)
The meteorite is made up of cemented fragments of basalt rock that normally forms from rapidly cooled lava. The fragments of these types of materials are primarily feldspar and pyroxene that could be most likely from volcanic activity. This unusual meteorite`s chemistry matches that of the Martian crust as measured by NASA`s Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Odyssey Orbiter. This is why NASA is about 99.9% positive this little meteorite did come from the surface of Mars.
Carl Agee, leader of the analysis team and director and curator at the University of New Mexico`s Institute of Meteoritic in Albuquerque commented on this by saying, "This Martian meteorite has everything in its composition that you`d want in order to further our understanding of the Red Planet. This unique meteorite tells us what volcanism was like on Mars 2 billion years ago. It also gives us a glimpse of ancient surface and environmental conditions on Mars that no other meteorite has ever offered." (Agee, C.)
Scientists are theorizing that the water found in this meteorite probably originated from the interaction from the other rocks on the surface of Mars. The meteorite also has a different mixture of oxygen isotopes than has been found in other Martian meteorites which could have resulted from interaction with the Martian atmosphere. (nasa.com)
Most Martian meteorites are divided into three rock types which are named after three meteorites named Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny. These "SNC" meteorites currently number about 110. Their point of origin on Mars is not known and recent data from lander and orbiter missions suggest they are a mismatch for the Martian crust. Although NWA 7034 has similarities to the SNC meteorites, including the presence of macromolecular organic carbon, this new meteorite has many unique characteristics (nasa.com)
Andrew Steele who led the carbon analysis at the Carnegie Institution`s Geophysical Laboratory said "The texture of the NWA meteorite is not like any of the SNC meteorites. This is an exciting measurement in Mars and planetary science. We now have more context than ever before to understanding where they may come from." (Steele, A.)
So, this little meteorite known as NWA 7034 may turn out to be the one mystery that answers scientist`s questions about Mars and may turn out to be the one entity that unlocks the mysterious wonders about the Red Planet.
RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY WATER RICH METEORITE LINKED TO MARS CRUST (http://go.nasa.gov/UbAhop). Retrieved 2012.
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