From Mars to Brussels

12/07/2018

A Martian meteorite collected during the Belgo-Japanese campaign to Antarctica in 2012 and 2013 has arrived in Belgium to be examined in detail.

Belgian researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) will now be able to study it, focusing on finding out its crystallisation age (the age of the volcanic activity that formed this rock) and understanding how the planet Mars cooled and developed a volcanic crust. The ULB highlighted, "These samples are valuable in allowing us to prepare for future missions to bring back Martian samples in the next ten years."

The 18kg meteorite is the largest meteorite collected in Antarctica in the last 25 years. It is the 5th largest meteorite found in East Antarctica. Probably originating from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter, it is an ordinary chondrite, i.e. the most abundant type of meteorite found on Earth. Chondrites are considered to be the first elements from which planets are formed.