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Green Meteorite Found In Morocco May Be From Mercury

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the hot-rock dept.

Space 89

An anonymous reader writes in with news that a meteorite found in Morocco might be from Mercury. "The green rock found in Morocco last year may be the first known visitor from the solar system's innermost planet, according to meteorite scientist Anthony Irving, who unveiled the new findings this month at the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas. The study suggests that a space rock called NWA 7325 came from Mercury, and not an asteroid or Mars."

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locnar (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327187)

Just sayin'.

Re:locnar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327559)

ooh-rah-tek
ooh-rah-tek
ooh-rah-tek
ooh-rah-tek
heavy metal awesome movie

Don't tell Superman (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327193)

Obviously it's Kryptonite

C'mon Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327199)

Green meteorite? C'mon man. It's so obviously from Kryptoin! We'll find out in 25 years when we have to kneel before Zod!!

Re:C'mon Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327255)

Kryptoin aka radioactive bitcoin (tm)...

With a name like NWA 7325... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327245)

I'd guess it was "Straight Outta Compton"

Re:With a name like NWA 7325... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43328317)

I'd guess it was "Straight Outta Compton"

or "Straight Outta Krypton", in this case.

Oh, wait, that was Addis Ababa, not Morocco.

Re:With a name like NWA 7325... (1)

mug funky (910186) | about a year ago | (#43329053)

dammit, you beat me.

Re:With a name like NWA 7325... (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about a year ago | (#43332891)

Like it would ever get out of Compton! It's a rock so it would have been smoked by now.

Re: Green Meteorite Found In Morocco May Be From M (1)

Zanadou (1043400) | about a year ago | (#43327277)

And women are from Venus.

It's an Easter present. (4, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43327279)

My guess is it's a snot rocket from God.

Re:It's an Easter present. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43327313)

Would an omnipotent being have or need boogers?

Re:It's an Easter present. (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#43327321)

A fan of H2G2 you are not.

Creator of the universe as claimed by adherents of the faith on planet Viltvodle VI. Their legend has it that the universe was sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure, and they thus live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief."

Re:It's an Easter present. (-1, Flamebait)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43327389)

It's called the KKK, they wear it on their heads

Re:It's an Easter present. (3, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#43327975)

Uhm, he didn't need the booger, so he launched it at us. Duh? Omnipotence gets pretty boring. Gotta mix it up for funsies.

Re:It's an Easter present. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43328073)

Would an omnipotent being have or need boogers?

"Need"? Who doesn't need a green radioactive space booger.

If I was an omnipotent deity, radioactive space boogers would be like the first thing on my list.

What do you think caused the extinction of the dinosaurs for chrissake?

Re:It's an Easter present. (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#43328133)

*that* was Baldrick's underwear.

Don't you keep up with BBC News?

Re:It's an Easter present. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328953)

Lolrus is rolling around laughing with a bucket on its head right now. Thanks XD

Re:It's an Easter present. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43329385)

We laugh...but the Moroccan king (who claim to be a descendant of Mohammad) regularly organizes mass prayers to ask Allah for rain.

http://www.lematin.ma/express/Pluies_Priere-rogatoire-vendredi/160943.html

Dumb Question: (3, Interesting)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year ago | (#43327295)

Lets break up the inevitable flood of cheesy Kryptonite jokes... I am no expert in astrogeology but I can still see how it is possible to tell that a rock dropped to Earth from space, it will have signs of being heated during entry into the Earth's atmosphere etc... I can also see how there might be a difference between planetary rocks formed during geological processes under the influence of gravity and objects that formed in space. But how is it possible to prove beyond a doubt that a rock came from a particular planet/moon in the solar system?

Re:Dumb Question: (5, Informative)

emurphy42 (631808) | about a year ago | (#43327329)

From TFA:

NWA 7325 has a lower magnetic intensity — the magnetism passed from a cosmic body's magnetic field into a rock — than any other rock yet found, Irving said. Data sent back from NASA's Messenger spacecraft currently in orbit around Mercury shows that the planet's low magnetism closely resembles that found in NWA 7325, Irving said.

Messenger's observations also provided Irving with further evidence that could support his hypothesis. Scientists familiar with Mercury's geological and chemical composition think that the planet's surface is very low in iron. The meteorite is also low in iron, suggesting that wherever the rock came from, its parent body resembles Mercury.

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43327807)

A rock which melts during atmospheric entry likely has its magnetism all messed up because of the high temperatures. Or maybe my physics knowledge is abysmal?

Re:Dumb Question: (3, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | about a year ago | (#43327929)

Only the surface heats up during the short trip through the atmosphere with the inside still being very cold.

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43329703)

Thanks for the info. Now I'm a bit less stupid :)

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327935)

Only the outer shell is heated greatly during atmospheric entry, and then it is abruptly cooled after slowing to subsonic speeds. There is very little temperature change in the interior.

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328087)

OK... so the rock is anemic... I suggest a little folic acid

Re:Dumb Question: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327359)

We just compare with the samples we've already taken from Mercury, Duh!

Re:Dumb Question: (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year ago | (#43327407)

We just compare with the samples we've already taken from Mercury, Duh!

Those non-existent ones you mean? We have not retreived any samples from Mercury.

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327597)

Whoooosh!

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43333777)

Careful, that whoooosh was actually an asteroid... maybe from Mercury.

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327627)

You must be fun at parties.

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43327997)

Parties where they discuss meteorites? Be a shame if aristotle-dude brought THAT party down a peg on the fun-meter.

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43331259)

we got plenty of samples from freddie.. he was a real star!

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327707)

Ok, the composition of certain classes of astronomical bodies are known. This is different, so it's not one of those, so it's definitely something else.

The second part is more speculative. Heavier elements are found closer to the centre of the solar system. Essentially, the accretion disk acted as a gigantic centrifuge. An imperfect one, though, since objects don't move in perfect circles and objects (especially in the early days) moved all over the place. That's why there's a lot of hydrogen and helium on Earth (although most of the helium has now been wasted on party balloons). Nonetheless, the net density of planets descends as you go further out. Well, at least until you get to the most basic ices, at which point there's nowhere left to go.

What can we tell from this? Well, if you measure the density of a meteorite and its density is similar to that of Mercury, then the odds are high that it is from Mercury. But this is NOT absolute proof, just as a snowball on Earth isn't from Pluto and iron oxide on a moon of Jupiter might easily be Jovian and not Martian.

So, to answer your question, astronomers can be bloody stupid at times and any astronomer who claims that it is possible to prove anything beyond doubt is being bloody stupid.

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328285)

The second part is more speculative. Heavier elements are found closer to the centre of the solar system. Essentially, the accretion disk acted as a gigantic centrifuge. An imperfect one, though, since objects don't move in perfect circles and objects (especially in the early days) moved all over the place. That's why there's a lot of hydrogen and helium on Earth (although most of the helium has now been wasted on party balloons). Nonetheless, the net density of planets descends as you go further out. Well, at least until you get to the most basic ices, at which point there's nowhere left to go.

Actually, there is almost no primordial helium on Earth. The helium that is here now is the result of alpha decay of radioactive isotopes.

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#43328153)

two main methods: magnetic properties, and chemical composition.

For instance, we know that rocks have fallen to Earth from Lunar impacts, but we didn't know until Apollo returned with samples, exactly what we were looking at. Turns out that Lunar rock is pretty much identical to Terran rock, with some minor differences in magnetic striation (the Moon doesn't have a magnetic field so rocks formed after the formation of the Moon, and lava fields in particular, have no discernible magnetic field, however a clue into the origin of the Moon comes from vestigial magnetic poles in some of the very oldest rocks and properties that suggest that for the most part, non-magmatic Lunar rock displays signs of extreme physical shock).

Re:Dumb Question: (0)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#43328607)

You and me, both. I reckon this mostly amounts to sensationalistic crap. The guess is they're 4.5 billion years old.
In theory, that's about how old the earth is
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_evolutionary_history_of_life [wikipedia.org]
which is also about the age of Mercury.

So the meteorite is about the age of the planets.

Who the hell knows where it's really from? What does origination mean if there weren't distinct planets, yet? What the hell do we know about material that old - how much of it have we studied?

And what does it matter?

So, yeah, sensationalistic crap.

Smart question, actually. (3, Interesting)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43330867)

But how is it possible to prove beyond a doubt that a rock came from a particular planet/moon in the solar system?

Well, there's only one way, really. You go to that planet or moon, pick up a rock, and bring it home. We can prove beyond a doubt that the moon rocks the astronauts brought home did, in fact, come from Earth's moon. At least, that's where they most recently came from before coming to Earth.

However, in "Science Journalism" which is something loosely inspired by sloppy research and egregious overstatements made by scientists while pumping for grants and attention, if a rock has characteristics that resemble the characteristics of rocks found on some other planet or moon, we confidently state that it came from there. It's called "leaping to conclusions", and misrepresenting hypotheses in this way is a big industry that forms the basis of Science Journalism.

Take the Big Bang theory for an example. We have a working theory, based on a real observation (that all matter we can detect appears to be expanding outwards from a point) and nobody has come up with a better explanation (yet) so in the world of Science Journalism it's an incontrovertible fact that all matter was once contained in a single point. See how that works? You just jump straight from "this is an idea that represents a possibility, which we can work with" to "this is absolute truth that only heretics and savages don't worship".

It's this kind of abandonment of logic and reason, and the substitution of pseudo-scientific dogma for true skepticism or conditional belief, that allows stuff like global warming denialism to prosper. You deflect the conversation from what's reasonable and logically provable to a discussion of the relative stature of the priests, er, I meant scientists, and their religious, er, I meant political affiliations. Evidence be damned, I have magazines.

Re:Smart question, actually. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43335487)

(that all matter we can detect appears to be expanding outwards from a point)

Um, fail.

Re:Smart question, actually. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43357175)

(that all matter we can detect appears to be expanding outwards from a point)

Um, fail.

Your brilliant explanation of the shortcomings of my brief gloss on modern cosmology fills me with admiration. Your fantastic powers of critical exposition must be admired by all your cowardly peers! Surely nothing further need ever be written in English, since your terse yet fantastically informative post has forever exhausted the possibilities of that language.

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

mladams (2745625) | about a year ago | (#43331583)

The title of the article indicates that the rock might be from mercury, so there is no one claiming to have proved it's origin. However, there is the possibility of being pretty certain. (the main question being how did it get from Mercury to Earth?)

Spectroscopy lets us know what Mercury is made of and comparing this rock to what we know of mercury will allow scientists to determine the likelihood of a rock coming from that planet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectroscopy/ [wikipedia.org]

Re:Dumb Question: (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about a year ago | (#43335601)

Science is not about proving things beyond a doubt, only ruling out possibilities and discussing the most likely candidates, reaching a consensus until new evidence is found.

Obligatory proposition: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327305)

It's simple: We kill the Super Man.

Mercury is not green, so how did (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43327317)

it get green? Left in the fridge too long?

Re:Mercury is not green, so how did (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about a year ago | (#43327691)

Maybe the rock oxidized once in our atmosphere and thus changed color?

Mercurous Chromate is green (3, Funny)

billstewart (78916) | about a year ago | (#43328001)

Apparently there are very few green-colored mercury compounds*; most of them tend to be reddish or white. So if the mercury you left in the fridge is turning green, because you've got a bunch of chromate ions floating around inside, you've got at least two problems in your fridge... and you don't usually see that kind of behaviour in a major appliance.

(* That's based on Google/Wikipedia searches; it's been a while since I've done real chemistry, and it's possible there's also some green organometallic mercury compound, but most of the ones I could find were reds or whites. It's also possible that you've got some mercury-tolerant molds growing on the organic debris floating on top of your bowl of mercury, but I'm still not gonna eat anything from your fridge.)

Re:Mercurous Chromate is green (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43328887)

Wait, are we talking about the planet or the element now?

meteorite could be from anywhere (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327335)

Yes, it may, and really really could be from that little rock orbiting close our star.But most likely it's not.

Easy to prove this assertion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327345)

The Proof is in repeating the headline rapidly twenty times.

CAPTCHA = redesign

Re:Easy to prove this assertion... (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43327409)

I see your mercury is rising.

ObTOS (3, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year ago | (#43327371)

"Captain, this visitor appears to be a green rock."

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it."

"Green life? Ok, Bones, leave the ... diplomacy to me!"

Re:ObTNG (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | about a year ago | (#43330961)

"Ugly bag of mostly water"

Analyzed by Scotty (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#43331523)

"It's ... it's green."

Another dumb question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327417)

how does a rock get separated from mercury? if for example there was a meteorite hitting the mercury and braking off pieces, wouldn't gravity of mercury pulled them back to the surface of mercury? another option... a vulcano exploding pieces. i haven't heard of any active vulcanos on other planets though....

Re:Another dumb question.... (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#43327631)

Mercury's gravity is rather weak (1/20 Earth's mass), and it has no atmosphere to speak of. A rock getting enough kinetic energy to escape Mercury's gravity isn't that hard to imagine.

The tricky part of this scenario is getting the rock enough kinetic energy to boost it from Mercury's orbit out to Earth. I'd guess a slingshot around the sun was probably needed.

Re:Another dumb question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327861)

The tricky part of this scenario is getting the rock enough kinetic energy to boost it from Mercury's orbit out to Earth.

I was wondering that too . . .

I'd guess a slingshot around the sun was probably needed.

Ah, yes of course. That makes more sense. Thank you.

Re:Another dumb question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328157)

Mercury's gravity is rather weak (1/20 Earth's mass), and it has no atmosphere to speak of. A rock getting enough kinetic energy to escape Mercury's gravity isn't that hard to imagine.

The tricky part of this scenario is getting the rock enough kinetic energy to boost it from Mercury's orbit out to Earth. I'd guess a slingshot around the sun was probably needed.

Methinks someone has no idea how slingshot effect works at all...

Re:Another dumb question.... (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43328533)

I'd guess a slingshot around the sun was probably needed.

It's got to be something massive moving relative to the Sun, probably Mercury and/or Venus.

Re:Another dumb question.... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a year ago | (#43330805)

The tricky part of this scenario is getting the rock enough kinetic energy to boost it from Mercury's orbit out to Earth. I'd guess a slingshot around the sun was probably needed.

How does something slingshot around the sun? I am aware of planetary slingshots, but they depend upon the planet's orbital speed around the sun. I could see how the sun will change the direction of the object, but not how it could impart more kinetic energy to the object.

Re:Another dumb question.... (3, Informative)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#43328193)

any high speed impact in which the ejecta achieves escape velocity. Fairly easy to do, if you have either a large enough impactor or one moving fast enough (28,000mph is fairly slow yet fast enough to achieve escape velocity even in Earth's gravity influence).

BTW, there are other bodies in the solar system, other than Earth, with active volcanoes. Two examples: Venus and Io. In fact, Io is the most geologically active body in the entire solar system, due solely to its proximity to Jupiter and the fact that there is a thirty Terawatt polar torus connecting the two. Io's volcanoes regularly throw debris into orbit.

Re:Another dumb question.... (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43328485)

The most likely scenario is that an impact knocks a rock off the surface of a planet or moon (Mercury, for example) with enough energy that the rock starts orbiting the sun instead of the planet. It would most likely be on a fairly eccentric orbit in that case and that orbit might cross the orbit of another planet (like the Earth). When the second planet happens to be in the same place as the rock, it falls as a meteor.

The Moon? (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year ago | (#43327445)

Are they sure it's not green cheese from the Moon?

Re:The Moon? (1)

jadv (1437949) | about a year ago | (#43331131)

Maybe it came from the Soylent Corporation's Mercury branch.

Or.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43327459)

Maybe it's from Krypton! :P

Picture? (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year ago | (#43327471)

What is the use of the article without a picture of the said meteorite.

Re:Picture? (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year ago | (#43327477)

Nevermind... it's there

its a real article! (1)

Dun Kick The Noob (904001) | about a year ago | (#43327513)

Seriously its a real article, thought the april fools had kicked in

It may be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43327523)

Kryptonite!

Meanwhile, in Kansas (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43327925)

Meanwhile, in Kansas, a farmer and his wife are happy to announce the birth of their son. According to friends and family, Martha never appeared pregnant, not for a day.

Re:Meanwhile, in Kansas (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43328171)

You're obviously not from a rural town. Whenever an older woman who never appeared pregnant magically shows up with a baby, that means her 16 year-old daughter who went to "California" for a year got knocked up. "Krypton" ain't nothing but the back seat of Jed's Camaro; coincidentally on his "hey y'all watch this" night down at that abandoned nuclear silo.

Re:Meanwhile, in Kansas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328251)

That would be a funny origin story for Superman. He's not an alien and Kyptonite doesn't do anything to him, but those are the stories his parents told him, so that's what he thinks is true, so the whole thing is just a mind game.

Re:Meanwhile, in Kansas (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#43328961)

...and at the end of it all, he wakes up and finds Bobby in the shower.

Wouldn't that be a big middle finger to the audience? >:]

Re:Meanwhile, in Kansas (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43334161)

...and at the end of it all, he wakes up and finds Bobby in the shower.

Wouldn't that be a big middle finger to the audience? >:]

Not sure if it could be as big a middle finger to the audience as 'The New 52'.

Re:Meanwhile, in Kansas (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year ago | (#43335467)

nah, that's the bit immediately prior to the waking-up-from-three-year-coma-in-your-own-bed bit.

Re:Meanwhile, in Kansas (1)

painandgreed (692585) | about a year ago | (#43341543)

...and at the end of it all, he wakes up and finds Bobby in the shower.

Wouldn't that be a big middle finger to the audience? >:]

Not sure if it could be as big a middle finger to the audience as 'The New 52'.

I wish I had mod points.

Green is the color of Islam! (0)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43328155)

I'm sure some superstitious Islamists will take it a green rock as a sign from Allah. The crazy stories/claims that emerge should be amusing.

ps. for those that don't know, green is the color of Islam (and in other cultures in ages past, of demons and Satan himself; although its all anti-scientific and conrtadictory superstitious nonsense; just letting ya know the trivia).

Re:Green is the color of Islam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328545)

It's a sign! Post around that "Innocence of Muslims" video everywhere!

Re:Green is the color of Islam! (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about a year ago | (#43329065)

I think we should leave the making up of crazy shit to the crazies, whithout adding an extra layer of "crazy shit I suppose they would make up" to it. There's enough bullcrap around without that ;)

From the summary it would seem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328235)

Someone at some point thought it was from Mars, which seems absurd. The rock is GREEN! If it came from the red planet, don't you think it would be... some other color, perhaps... red?

Well, time for me to take my annual break from reading /., since tomorrow is the day people DELIBERATELY post bullshit for their own amusement. I guess I shouldn't take umbrage to this practice, after all, it's only good practice for the rest of the year when the bullshit is less obvious. (sigh...)

Green Meteorites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43328339)

Usually you are able to tell where a meteorite is from by the different types of rocks and minerals it contains so for it to come from Mercury it should have the same composition as Mercury. And also I think that it is very funny that it was green. Maybe it was a green man from Mercury who didn't have any limbs.

Hmmm (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#43328529)

Do they have April 1st in Morocco, or do they run on an Islamic calendar

Re:Hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43329451)

Do they have April 1st in Morocco, or do they run on an Islamic calendar

They run on islamic calendars, and your jokes are an insult to the Prophet: You and three generations of your family will be beheaded on the public square.

Frivolous science - again (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#43328763)

This sounds like the frivolous science from the past decades. Before this meteorite from 'Mercury' there was a meteorite allegedly from 'Mars'. They even fooled poor president Clinton to utter upon it. http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/snc/clinton.html [nasa.gov]

It is April 1st today, but these mercurian reports from a dude called Irving came yesterday.

Don't the scientists at NASA and elsewhere have anything better to do than identify earthlings rocks as extraterrestrial. Self-deception is indeed a strong force, but this is getting out of hands.

Re:Frivolous science - again (1)

Jiro (131519) | about a year ago | (#43331343)

Your link refers to a particular Mars meteorite that some people thought might contain evidence of life.

You've misunderstood that. The meteorite is from Mars. The "life" part was questionable, but the "Mars" part was real. Nobody was "fooled" into thinking it's from Mars; it's really from Mars, and scientists haven't changed their mind about that.

Re:Frivolous science - again (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#43331605)

Yes, the life argument was bad, but so were the arguments supporting a Martian origin.

You have been misled in how well supported they are.

"While the claim remains highly controversial" http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8004 [newscientist.com]

"At first ALH84001 was misclassified, so it wasn't until 1993 that researchers even realized the rock came from Mars. That was interesting enough, because at the time fewer than a dozen Martian meteorites were known to science. But ALH84001 also turned out to be much more ancient than the other known Martian meteorites. At 4.5 billion years old, it dates from a period of Martian history when liquid water — a requirement for the presence of life — probably existed at the now barren planet's surface. It made sense to ask: Could there be fossils of ancient Martian microbes, or maybe traces of them, preserved in the cracks and pore spaces of ALH84001? The NASA scientists proffered four reasons to support their view that the answer to that question is "Yes."" http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-08-06-mars-life_x.htm [usatoday.com]

Sorry to say, the both the life and the Martian origin hypotheses reek of frivolous science and sadly, they stink.

Re:Frivolous science - again (1)

Jiro (131519) | about a year ago | (#43332189)

You are taking that sentence out of context. That article absolutely does not say that it is controversial that the meteorite came from Mars. The only part that is controversial is the part about the life. It's right there in the article:

While the claim remains highly controversial, the JSC scientists say further study has bolstered the evidence for fossilised life in ALH84001.

Furthermore, the article is actually about locating where on Mars the meteorite comes from. At no point does it ever say that there is doubt that the meteorite comes from Mars.

Re:Frivolous science - again (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year ago | (#43369521)

[I've been on vacation]

Ok, the other one.

Why was it 'misclassified'? What on Earth could have led them to have it 'misclassified'?

In other words, how many minerals on Earth are sufficiently similar to have it misidentified?

Without knowing the answer, I would guess many.

NWA 7325 (0)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43330721)

It's from Northwest Airlines flight 7325, more specifically, it's from your anus.

Mercury rock rich in Ca and Mg but low in Fe (1)

bbsalem (2784853) | about a year ago | (#43335175)

The meteorite that landed in Morocco was described in Sky_and_Telescope for May 2013, pg 12, with a photo of a 5 cm rectangular bright green fragment. The bright green mineral is diopside. Spectra from Mercury messenger match Ensteite, both minerals have large amounts of Mg and Ca, but are typically lower in Fe. The chemistry of the meteorite and the geochemistry measured from space are close but not exact. Mercury has one of the most battered surfaces in the solar sytstem and I thought that its greater average density would make for a large metal core, the most common metal being iron. Either there is a big probably frozen iron core but the crust is very well differentiated geochemically so that there isn't much Fe at the surface. Perhaps the period of intense bombardment that all bodies went through about 3.7 BYA (I think) caused the Fe to melt out of the crust.
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