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'Black Beauty' Meteorite Points to Mars' Kinder, Gentler Past


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A baseball-sized meteorite that contains more water than any previously found from Mars is adding evidence to the case for life on the Red Planet. "Having a lab sample that's similar to the rocks being looked at by the rovers is great," said University of New Mexico professor Carl Agee, who led the study of the meteorite. "It also demonstrates how important it is that we go to Mars and bring back rocks to the lab."After a year of study, researchers have concluded that a Martian meteorite found in the Sahara desert in 2011 is a new class of meteorite -- one that adds credence to the idea that life may have existed on the Red Planet.



NWA 7034, nicknamed "Black Beauty," could shed light on the Red Planet's past.

The meteorite, Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, nicknamed "Black Beauty," is black and about the size of a baseball.


The researchers, led by Carl Agee, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the University of New Mexico, have determined that the meteorite was formed 2.1 billion years ago.


"Most scientists think Mars was warm, wet and had harbored life, and some time later lost much of its atmosphere and water and became a harsh environment," Agee told TechNewsWorld. "This is from the time when things were changing on Mars, and that's why it's exciting. Maybe the change had taken place, or maybe there was still water around."



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