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Western-led 'international beam team' solves Martian meteorite age puzzle

By directing energy beams at tiny crystals found in a Martian meteorite, a Western University-led team of geologists has proved that the most common group of meteorites from Mars is almost 4 billion years younger than many scientists had believed - resolving a long-standing puzzle in Martian science and painting a much clearer picture of the Red Planet's evolution that can now be compared to that of habitable Earth.
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In 1911 a meteor exploded over Egypt, which had travelled all the way from Mars. Royal Observatory Astronomer Dr Marek Kukula discovers what the Nakhla meteorite has revealed about the Red Planet.
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Anniversary of the Nakhla Meteorite Fall in Egypt in 1911



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Martian Meteorites
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Market for Martian Meteorites Heats Up

In late May, a Mars rock, small enough to fit easily into in an adult's palm and covered in a glossy crust as black as space, sold for $43,750, a significant price, even for a piece of the fourth planet.
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Anniversary of the discovery of the Mars Meteorite ALH 84001 in 1984.



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Meteorites rock! (1/3)

Meteor hunters (2/3)

Meteor from Mars (3/3)



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On August 6, 1996 Martian meteorite ALH 84001 became newsworthy when it was announced that the meteorite may contain evidence for traces of life from Mars, as published in an article in Science by David McKay of NASA
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Nakhla meteorite
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In 1911 a meteor exploded over Egypt, which had travelled all the way from Mars.
Royal Observatory Astronomer Dr Marek Kukula discovers what the Nakhla meteorite has revealed about the Red Planet.

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RE: Nakhlites
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In August 1911, the Smithsonian received two samples of Nakhla; in 1962, it received the 480-gram piece of the meteorite shown in this photograph. By the 1970s, the Smithsonian had acquired a total of 650 grams of Nakhlas fragments.
Nakhlites, Martian meteorites named for Nakhla, are igneous rocks that are rich in augite and were formed from basaltic magma about 1.3 billion years ago. Their crystallization ages, compared to a crater-count chronology of different regions on Mars, suggest the Nakhlites formed on the large volcanic regions of Tharsis, Elysium or Syrtis Major Planum.

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Nakhla Meteorite
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A rain of 40 stones fell from the sky in 1911 near Nakhla in Egypt. The falls were preceded by an appearance of a cloud and detonations, frightening local residents. There is an eyewitness account that one of the fragments hit a dog. Efforts to substantiate the validity of the dog story almost a century later have been unsuccessful thus far, though the story hasn't been disproven either. The stones from this meteorite fall ranged in size from 20g to 1813g, and it is estimated a total weight of 10kg (22 pounds) had fallen.
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