Oldest known Martian meteorite ‘Black beauty’, at 4.5 bn years old, could reveal Earth’s secrets

A 4.5 billion years old Martian meteorite also known as Black Beauty could reveal the secret of the origins of planets of our solar system including the earth.

Researchers have traced the oldest known Martian meteorite also known as Black Beauty to its exact origin point by using artificial intelligence (AI). And it is being speculated that the findings could help reveal the origin and evolution of our solar system’s planets during their very first days. The 11-ounce (320 grams) meteorite, named Northwest Africa 7034 is believed to have smashed into Earth around 5 million years ago. However, it was found in the Sahara Desert in 2011. Its age was estimated to be around 4.5 billion years old — making it the oldest Martian meteorite ever found on Earth.

As per the findings published in Nature Communication, scientists believe that it could provide information about how earth developed into a planet that sustains a broad diversity of life, while Mars did not. “The region we identify as being the source of this unique Martian meteorite sample constitutes a true window into the earliest environment of the planets, including the Earth, which our planet lost because of plate tectonics and erosion,” said lead-author Anthony Lagain, a planetary scientist at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

Valerie Payré, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science shared that observing the extremely ancient terrains on Mars will provide a window into the ancient Earth surface that it lost a long time ago due to plate tectonics.

He also said, “As of today Mars’ crust complexity is not understood till date, and knowing about the origin of these amazing ancient fragments could lead future rover and spatial missions to explore the Terra Sirenum-Cimmeria region that hides the truth of Mars’ evolution, and perhaps the Earth’s.”

Further, it is also believed to answer one of the most intriguing questions: why Mars, now dry and cold, evolved so differently from Earth, a flourishing planet for life?”

As of now, the chemistry of the meteorite indicates that Mars had volcanic activity similar to that found on Earth, recording the first stage of Mars’ evolution.


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