The Mars Curiosity rover has found a small, smooth meteor on the surface of Mars that scientists have nicknamed the "egg rock" for its unusual shape.
It is not the first meteorite found on Mars, but it may be the most interesting. Calculated to be no more than 1.6 inches in diameter, the meteorite has a smooth surface that suggests it may have been melted, possibly as it entered Mars’ atmosphere, Universe Today reported.
Pictures of the meteorite taken Oct. 30 showed an egg-shaped meteor with a somewhat pitted surface indicative of melting and reforming. According to Earth Sky, chemical tests taken by the Curiosity rover showed the meteorite was made from metal, possibly from a nickel-iron mixture that is unlike other rocks and rock formations found on Mars.
Nickel-iron mixtures have been found in the cores of planets, and scientists from Arizona State University think it is likely the small meteorite may have come from the core of a dwarf planet that was formed by the compression of a large volume of cosmic dust, the Daily Mail reported.
Scientists have previously suggested Mars may have a large number of meteorites because of its closeness to the Asteroid Belt. It is thought that Mars may often be struck by objects that get kicked out of Jupiter’s gravity field.
Mars’ atmosphere is many times thinner than Earth’s, so objects that strike its surface may last a lot longer, with far less erosion than objects striking Earth’s surface.
It is conceivable that meteors could last millions of years on Mars because of the thin atmosphere, despite Mars’ often extreme weather patterns.
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