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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/17/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists dub the find 'Lebanon'

What will they find next on the surface of Mars? Just recently, NASA's Curiosity rover came across a massive iron meteorite half buried in the sands of Mars. The space agency has dubbed the find "Lebanon."

NASA has now published the combined image. A preliminary analysis has been made of what the meteorite is made from.

NASA has now published the combined image. A preliminary analysis has been made of what the meteorite is made from.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/17/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Lebanon, Mars, Curiosity rover, meteorite


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The two-meter-wide rock was discovered by the robot-like device on May 25. Photographed using the nuclear-powered tank's Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam instrument, Curiosity's Mast Camera, or Mastcam was used to determine the body's color and contrast levels.

NASA has now published the combined image. A preliminary analysis has been made of what the meteorite is made from. 

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"The imaging shows angular shaped cavities on the surface of the rock. One possible explanation is that they resulted from preferential erosion along crystalline boundaries within the metal of the rock," scientists say.

"Another possibility is that these cavities once contained olivine crystals, which can be found in a rare type of stony-iron meteorites called pallasites, thought to have been formed near the core-mantle boundary within an asteroid."

Lebanon is by far not the first meteorite found on Mars. The Opportunity rover back in 2005 found an iron/nickel extraterrestrial boulder lying on a sand dune on its path. At that time, there was little that could be done in the way of testing. NASA ended up halting the attempt after a quarter of the rover's drill was worn away by the rock.

In regards to Lebanon, NASA says it is likely the space rock has been sitting on the Martian plains for millions of years. Iron meteorites are eroded much more slowly on Mars than on Earth, thanks to Earth's oxygen-rich atmosphere and overall moistness, while on the Red Planet the only erosive forces known are from wind-blown dust.

The space agency may decide to investigate the meteorite further, but at least one person has a good idea for the lump of big iron.

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