Natural History Museum buys rare Martian meteorite

Priceless: The space rock now owned by the Natural History Museum

An 'incredibly rare' Martian meteorite has been acquired by the Natural History Museum.

The 1.1kg (2.4lb) black rock was snapped up by the London museum with the help of a private donor.

Scientists hope the chunk – the biggest piece of the ‘Tissint’ meteorite to fall to Earth – will help unravel the mysteries of Mars.

Dr Caroline Smith, the museum’s meteorite curator, said: ‘Arguably, this is the most important meteorite to have fallen in 100 years and we now have the largest piece in our collection.

Martian meteorites are incredibly rare, and when they have been seen to fall and are recovered quickly, they offer a unique insight into the Red Planet.’

Eyewitnesses near the village of Tissint, southern Morocco, picked up the unusual rock last July after hearing two sonic booms and seeing a fireball in the sky.

‘The meteorite has minimal contamination,’ Dr Smith added. ‘It is as if it has just been blasted off Mars.’



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