Curtin University researchers studied a Martian meteorite. They have found the first evidence of high-intensity damage caused by asteroid impact. It has implications for understanding when conditions suitable for life may have existed on early Mars.
The study has been published in journal Science Advances. Scientists examined grains of the mineral zircon in Martian meteorite NWA 7034. The meteorite is colloquially known as “Black Beauty”. It is a rare sample of the surface of Mars. The rock was found in northern Africa and first reported in 2013.
Scientists described the meteorite as a collection of broken rock fragments and minerals. These solidified and became a rock over time. A zircon found inside the meteorite preserves evidence of damage. This occurred during large meteorite impacts.
Scientists said, zircon grains in the Black Beauty meteorite have physical evidence of large impacts on early Mars. It has implications for the habitability of the young planet.
Scientists also included collaborators from The University of Western Australia and University of Glasgow.