February 17, 2019

06.10.09: A Martian Meteorite: The Sequel?

Less than two months after its first record breaking find, NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has discovered what appears to be a second true rarity; another meteorite on Mars. Far surpassing their original 3 month primary missions, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity have exceeded all expectations and are now in their fifth year of operations on the Red Planet. They have been hobbled by software problems, dust storms, and gimp wheels, but these spunky robots refuse to die. Opportunity was rolling across Meridiani Planum en route to Endeavor Crater about seven miles distant when it first spotted and analyzed the 2-foot long rock now dubbed Block Island, the first extraterrestrial rock positively identified on another world. Now, on October 1st researchers have spotted another rock that looks decidedly out of place on the martian landscape; dubbed Shelter Island, this pitted stone is about 18” inches long and also exhibits a smooth polished surface. Of course, the presence of two meteor falls this close together raises the question; are the two stones related? Or are “Martian meteorites” more common than we might presume? Stay tuned!

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