Watery Martian meteorite has scientists abuzz
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Martian meteorite containing 10 times more water than average could unlock clues to the Red Planet's evolution from a warm, wet past to its current cold and dry state, scientists said on Thursday.
Unlike most Martian meteorites, NWA 7034, a dark, fist-sized rock that landed in the Sahara Desert in 2011, is thought to be from the planet's surface, not deeper inside, and to date from a crucial time in its evolution.
"Many scientists think that Mars was warm and wet in its early history, but the planet's climate changed over time," lead author Carl Agee, whose study was published in the United States journal Science Express, told space.com.
Scientists believe NWA 7034 was formed from lava from a volcanic eruption on Mars around 2.1 billion years ago that cooled and hardened on the surface of the planet, possibly with the help of water.