Scientists studying a collection of 35 meteorites that landed in Morocco in 2012 say that a strange green rock among the group is likely from Mercury, rather than Mars or an asteroid, Space.com reported.
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If they are correct, Meteorite NWA 7325 is the first known chunk of Mercury to be identified on Earth.
Popular Science explains:
Magnetic intensity is shared by rocks and the planet they originate from.
NWA 7325 has a lower magnetic intensity than other space rocks scientists have seen, Anthony Irving, a meteorite scientist from the University of Washington said at the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in the Woodlands, Texas, this month, according to Space.com.
The meteorite’s magnetic intensity most closely matches the low magnetism found on Mercury, which NASA’s Messenger spacecraft has measured, Irving said, according to Space.com. Furthermore, the space rock has a low iron content, and scientists believe Mercury’s surface is also low in iron.
The green meteorite and the other space rocks it was found with are about 4.56 billion years old, Irving said.