December 6, 2022


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5 million years ago, a meteorite hit the Earth.  Now we know exactly where it came from

5 million years ago, a meteorite hit the Earth. Now we know exactly where it came from

The development of technology that benefits, among other things, astronomy is astounding. Using a supercomputer and advanced software, scientists were able to find the source of a meteorite 5 million years ago.

A piece of this cosmic rock crashed into the desert region today, although it wasn’t found until 2011. Named NWA 7034, it is the only Martian meteorite to form breccia, a type of sedimentary rock formed from pieces of broken rock that were pieced together. together by a fine substance. Details on this matter are presented in Nature Communications.

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It was previously known that NWA 7034 comes from the Red Planet, but thanks to research by Anthony Laggen’s team from Curtin University in Australia, it was possible to determine the actual source of the meteorite. To do this, scientists used thousands of high-resolution images of Mars, which they fed an artificial intelligence based on a supercomputer.

In this way, they were able to locate about 90 million archaeological craters. So the list of potential candidates was very long, while the next stage of the investigation was to better match those who matched the NWA 7034 criteria. and thorium, as well as a high degree of magnetization. As for the rocks of Mars, of course.

Turns out the meteorite came from the Karatha Crater

In contrast, pits that did not match the search due to their age were removed from the list. In the end, among the millions of candidates, only one remained: the Karatha Crater. It is about 10 kilometers in diameter, although the crater itself is part of another crater, larger and older, known as Dampier. As Lagain adds, the geological context of the Breccia Martian sample available on our planet was first recognized 10 years before the Martian sample was due to be sent to Earth.

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These types of cosmic rocks are like time capsules and are a valuable source of information about their source. Based on the analysis of samples, scientists can collect a huge amount of useful data, which indicates, for example, the conditions prevailing in a particular place and even the existence of possible life. For this reason, it will be especially useful to collect information on extrasolar objects such as the famous Oumuamua.