April 19, 2024

On This Day in Space! Dec. 27, 1984: Famed Allan Hills Mars meteorite found in Antarctica

On Dec. 27, 1984, one of the most well-known Mars meteorites was found in Antarctica. The meteorite, known as Allan Hills 84001, was discovered in Allan Hills, which is a group of hills in Antarctica. It was found by an American team of meteorite hunters from a National Science Foundation program called ANSMET, which represents the Antarctic Search for Meteorites. An illustration of the Soviet area station Salyut 4, which introduced into orbit on Dec. 26, 1974. (Image credit: NASA) Weighing in at just over 4 lbs., this space rock is considered to be among the oldest Martian meteorites ever discovered in the world. Scientists approximate that it crystallized from molten rock more than 4 billion years earlier, when Mars still had liquid water on its surface. It likewise has been the source of controversy about the search for life on Mars that continues to this day.Scientists identified that the meteorite most likely originated from an area called Valles Marineris. To figure that out, they compared spacecraft data on the chemical composition of Mars with the chemical composition of the meteorite. Scientists believe that the meteorite was ejected into space when Mars got struck by a meteor about 17 million years ago, and that it struck the Earth about 13,000 years ago.Catch up on our entire “On This Day In Space” series on YouTube with this playlist. On This Day in Space Archive! Still insufficient space? Do not forget to take a look at our Space Image of the Day, and on the weekends our Best Space Photos and Top Space News Stories of the week. Email Hanneke Weitering at [email protected] or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook..