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They identify on the surface of Mars the crater from which a meteorite that impacted the Earth came from about 5 to 10 million years ago


Known as ‘the Black Beauty’, the meteorite, discovered in 2011 in North Africa, is considered one of the rocks of the red planet that have been detected.

An international team of researchers discovered on the surface of Mars the exact place of the that the meteorite NWA 7034, known as ‘the Black Beauty’, which collided with the Earth millions of years ago, broke off. The finding could shed new light on the formation of our planet.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, including the use of a supercomputer and a machine learning algorithm, the academics analyzed the size and distribution of about 90 million Martian craters. In this way, they were able to identify that NWA 7034 originated in the ejecta margins of the Khujirt crater, formed 1,500 million years ago. of years in the northeast of the Terra Cimmeria-Sirenum region, in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

According to scientists, between 5 and 10 million years ago an asteroid that crashed into the red planet created the huge Karratha crater and hurled fragments of the crust into space. One of them, the ‘Black Beauty’, would end up impacting the earth’s surface, in present-day Africa. Its remains were found in Western Sahara, north of the continent, in 2011.

The team’s recent findings, published Tuesday in the journal Nature, suggest that NWA 7034 ” it is a relic of the differentiated primordial Martian crust, formed shortly after the accretion of the planet”, so it accounts for the geological processes that made possible the formation of the primordial Martian crust and, “by extension, that of all the planets, including Earth”.

“Locating the region from which the meteorite comes is fundamental, since it contains the oldest Martian fragments ever found, with an age of 4,480 million years […] The region that we identified as the source of this unique Martian meteorite sample is a true window into the oldest environment of the planets, including Earth, which was lost to plate tectonics and erosion,” said Anthony Lagain, co-author of the paper. .

Furthermore, the researchers point out, the results of their study could be useful to reconstruct in greater detail a timeline of the geological history of Mars. In addition, they would serve as a basis for studying other bodies in the solar system, such as Mercury and the Moon, which have a large number of craters.

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