For long, scientists have been trying to verify that at least some of the meteorites to have reached our planet are Martian in origin. Now, thanks to NASA’s Curiosity rover, this has been confirmed through a precise measurement by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.
The SAM instrument is a part of the gear that Curiosity packs. The rover landed a while ago at the Red Planet, amidst a lot of celebration. This is the first detailed Martian navigation of its kind with the help of a rover.
The Curiosity rover was able to calculate the exact Argon-36 and Argon-38 component in the atmosphere of Mars. These two forms of Argon gas frequently form the composition of meteorites. However, in the case of Martian meteorites, the ratio between two different form is between 3.6 and 4.5.
Scientists have tried to narrow down this estimate in the past. Thanks to the SAM calculations, it has now been confirmed that the ratio of these gases in the Martian atmosphere in 4.2. This fits in perfectly with the composition of many meteorites that have been found and analyzed in the past. And so, this discovery confirms that there are indeed meteorites with the Red Planet as their origin.
Martian meteorites hold critical importance for scientists because they tell the story of the erosion of the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Through this information, scientists try to surmise how the once-wet planet has turned into a dry and cold place that it is today.
Courtesy: Space Industry