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Mystery Moroccan rocks 'fell from Mars', say scientists

Chunks of meteorite found in Morocco in December, thought to have fallen in July, came from Mars millions of years ago.

A Martian meteorite, recovered in December 2011 near Morocco.
A Martian meteorite, recovered in December 2011 near Morocco.
Image: Darryl Pitt/AP

SCIENTISTS HAVE CONFIRMED that Earth recently hosted a rare invasion from Mars – meteorite chunks that fell from the red planet over Morocco last summer.

This is only the fifth time experts have chemically confirmed fresh Martian rocks fell to Earth. The last time was in 1962.

Scientists believe the most recent meteorite fell last July, saying there were sightings of an unidentified object falling from the sky at that time.

A special committee of meteorite experts, which includes some NASA scientists, confirmed the test results today. They certified that 6.8 kg (15 lbs) of meteorite recently collected had originated from Mars. The biggest rock weighs around a kilo.

Astronomers think the fragments were discarded by the Red Planet millions of years ago, after a large object hurled into the planet and sent fragments hurtling through the solar system.

Occasionally, they believe, some of those rocks fall to Earth.

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- Seth Borenstein

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