Billions of years ago a meteorite formed on Mars. His analysis presents the history of the ancient effects on the planet. And the presence of oxidation in this ancient meteorite gives other clues. For example, it tells us that there was water on Mars earlier than previously thought. The result was published in Science Advances on Monday. It helps understand the role of water in the formation of planets.
The origin of water
In planetary research there is an old question about the origin of water on earth. One hypothesis is that it came from simulated asteroids and comets. Some planetary researchers think differently. They believe that water is one of the many substances that naturally occur in the formation of planets. The analysis of the ancient Martian meteorite confirms this second hypothesis.
A few years ago, two dark meteorites were discovered in the Sahara. They were named NWA 7034 and NWA 7533. The analysis revealed that these meteorites are new types of Martian meteorites.
The first fragments formed on Mars 4.4 billion years ago. They are the oldest known Martian meteorites. Stones like this one are rare and can be as high as … $ 10,000 per gram! 50 grams of NWA 7533 was purchased for analysis. This would be done by an international team that included Professor Takashi Mikouchi from the University of Tokyo.
“We want to understand how Mars was formed and how its crust and mantle developed,” Mikouchi said in a statement. “Our NWA 7533 samples were subjected to four different types of spectroscopic analysis.”
Mars and water
It is known that there was water on Mars at least 3.7 billion years ago. But Mikouchi and her team deduced something else from the mineral composition of the meteorite. There was water on Mars earlier than previously thought. Probably about 4.4 billion years ago.
“This oxidation could have occurred if there had been water in the Martian crust,” says the expert. With this impact, part of the crust melted. It must have released a large amount of hydrogen. This warmed the planet more: Mars already had an insulating atmosphere that was dense with carbon dioxide.
This suggests that water may be a natural by-product of a process that occurs early in the planet’s formation. This finding could help researchers answer the question of where the water comes from. And that could change theories about the origins of life beyond Earth.