Quirks & Quarks

Meteorite From the Martian Surface

A meteorite is the first piece of the Martian crust ever found on Earth.
The Martian meteorite nicknamed "black beauty" cut in cross-section (NASA)
Of the many thousands of meteorites found on Earth, fewer than one-hundred have been identified as having come from Mars. Most of those are comprised of cooled volcanic material.

That's why a meteorite found in the Moroccan desert in 2011 - nicknamed 'Black Beauty' - is very special. It was analysed by Canadian PhD student Kevin Cannon from Brown University's Planetary Geosciences Department. Its chemical make-up confirmed that it is from Mars but not created by volcanic activity.

When spectral images of Black Beauty were compared to recent data collected from Mars, the scientists concluded that the meteorite is a type of rock known as breccia - a mash up of material from the Martian crust, created 4.4 billion years ago. Black Beauty is the first known piece of the Martian crust found on Earth. 

Paper in Icarus
- Brown University release 
Astronomy Magazine story