Meteorite chunks that fell in Morocco last summer came from Mars, yielding an unexpected 15-pound sample of the Red Planet, scientists confirmed Tuesday. It’s the first time in 50 years — and only the fifth time ever — that scientists have chemically confirmed that pieces of rock came from Mars.
The rocks were found in December and analyzed by a committee of meteorite experts. The biggest one weighs a little more than 2 pounds.
When our planet was still forming, collisions with other planetesimals — and a Mars-sized object that sheared away the moon — turned the embryonic Earth into a roiling ball of molten rock. Iron and other heavy elements sank toward the core, and other iron-loving elements did, too. As a result, there’s plenty of gold at our planet’s center. So why, then, is there also gold in the hills? A new study supports the theory that it was all a gift from above.
A new network of surveillance cameras will track meteorites as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, helping meteor-hunters track where the rocks land and where they came from.
So far, there are only three cameras, but astronomers hope to add a dozen more in schools and science centers, eventually broadening the All-Sky Fireball Network to the entire country. The system consists of smart black-and-white cameras that record the entire night sky, fish-eye-like.
Last week we were treated to the unusual story of a human-versus-meteorite collision.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the youth whose hand was in the path of the pea-sized meteor saw a "ball of light." The article also made the claim that the impact with the ground left a "foot-wide crater." Both of these assertions are highly unlikely, as we shall see by simply applying some basic physics to the situation.
My brother and I have a bet: Would it be possible to blow up Mars?
By Elizabeth SvobodaPosted 06.02.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
In a word: no. It would be impossible to destroy the Red Planet with any device scientists can build, let alone finance. Planets can survive enormous assaults; the Hellas Basin, a Martian crater about 1,300 miles wide, testifies to the planet having once collided with an asteroid so massive that the impact generated well over a hundred million megatons of energy. If a meteoroid that size were to hit Earth, it could wipe out life on an entire continent.