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This item costs TEN TIMES more than gold

Last updated on: January 19, 2012 09:45 IST

This item costs TEN TIMES more than gold

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Scientists have claimed that chunks of a meteorite which fell in Morocco last July were from Mars -- a rare event which happened for the first time in 50 years.

It is the fifth time that such Martian meteorite fall has been reported, an event which has occurred every 50 years.

The first was in 1815 in France, second in 1865 in India, followed by Egypt in 1911 and Nigeria in 1962. The latest fall of the fragments of the Martian meteorite took place near Foumzgit in Morocco, following a meteorite shower which is believed to have occurred in July 2011.

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Image: An iron meteorite on Mars
Photographs: Reuters

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This item costs TEN TIMES more than gold

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But the rock was not found on the ground until December, when collectors began speculating it had come from the red planet. Now, a panel of international experts has confirmed that their suspicion is true.

In fact, astronomers believe that millions of years ago, something large collided with Mars, spraying rock into space, where it began gliding through the solar system until a piece entered Earth's atmosphere, The Daily Telegraph reported.

It fragmented as it descended and one large piece reached the ground, where it broke up into smaller pieces weighing 15 pounds and some individual lumps weighing more than two pounds, say the astronomers.

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Image: A dark rock that may be a meteorite on the surface of Mars
Photographs: Reuters

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This item costs TEN TIMES more than gold

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But even before the official test results were out, museums, universities and NASA scientists were offering dealers vast sums for samples, which are among the rarest items on Earth.

The prices reportedly value the rock at about ten times the worth of gold.

Meteorite expert Chris Herd, who heads the committee that certified the find, said he had already bought a chunk, describing it as "a free sample from Mars... except that you have to pay the dealers for it."

The event will provide planetary scientists with valuable samples from Mars that no space mission has ever been able to bring back to Earth, say experts.



Image: A file photo of the surface of Mars
Photographs: Reuters

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