Rover finds meteorite on Mars

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Martian Meteorite

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found a basketball-sized iron meteorite near heat shield debris at Meridiani Planum, Opportunity's landing location on Mars.

It is the first meteorite of any type ever identified on another planet.

"This is a huge surprise, though maybe it shouldn't have been," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit.

Opportunity and Spirit successfully completed their primary three-month missions on Mars in April 2004. NASA has extended their missions twice because the rovers have remained in good enough condition to continue exploring Mars longer than anticipated. They have found geological evidence of past wet environmental conditions that might have been hospitable to life.