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Imagine That! - Martian Rock


Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - Martian Rock

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

While the Mars rover works millions of miles away, we've found another piece of Mars close to home. Today, rocks from space!

Imagine That!

"Field parties" may mean one thing to you -- but for geologists working near the South Pole, a field party means bundling up and scanning an ice field for meteorites. Why have a party of any kind in a bone-chilling environment?

Harvey: "If you want to find objects that are falling from the sky, lay out a big white sheet. And Antarctica is a big white sheet three thousand miles across. So pretty much any rock you find out on top of the ice sheet had to fly there somehow."

That's Ralph Harvey, a geology professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, who was part of a field party that discovered a Mars rock last year. He says most meteorites don't come from Mars, but from the asteroid belt -- a group of bodies smaller than planets orbiting the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Of the more than thirty-thousand meteorites found over the years, only four dozen or so have originated from the moon or Mars. The Mars rock found last year weighed in at about a pound and a half and arrived on Earth about eleven million years ago. I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at nsf.gov.

 
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