Science & Tech

Rocks from Mars are hitting Earth, leaving experts stumped

Rocks from Mars are hitting Earth, leaving experts stumped
This Is What It Looks Like Inside an Impact Crater on Mars
ZMG - Amaze Lab / VideoElephant

Lumps of rock from Mars are hurtling towards Earth, and scientists can’t quite explain what they’re seeing.

The recovered samples of Martian rock, which have drifted 381.42 million kilometres through space all the way to our planet, have baffled experts, mainly because the rocks that are making their way to Earth are nowhere near as old as they’d expected.

The surface of Mars is thought to be far older than the 200 million year old rocks coming to our planet, with estimates placing the planet at 340 to 680 million years old.

However, a total of seven samples of shergottite (a type of igneous rock found on Mars) have been analysed after falling to Earth and testing suggests that they range from 161 million and 540 million years old.

The research was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, and it could change the scientific communities’ understanding of the Red Planet.


One theory posited during the research is that asteroids falling onto the surface of Mars may have broken up the surface enough to dislodge it and cause the younger rock underneath to be ejected into space.

Volcanologist Ben Cohen of the University of Glasgow led the research. He said: "We know from certain chemical characteristics that these meteorites are definitely from Mars.

"They've been blasted off the red planet by massive impact events, forming large craters. But there are tens of thousands of impact craters on Mars, so we don't know exactly where on the planet the meteorites are from. One of the best clues you can use to determine their source crater is the samples' age."

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