On Wednesday, March 6, 1996, scientists released information that they had found the oldest Martian meteorite to date.
The meteorite, named Allan Hills 84001, is around 4 billion years old. It was found in Antarctica by a team of scientists from Manchester University and the American Museum of Natural History.
The meteorite is unique not only because it came from Mars (only about a dozen other meteorites have been found which originated on Mars), but also because it was by far the oldest Martian meteorite found. The others were all around 1.3 billion years old.
The age of the meteorite coincides with the Lunar Cataclysm, a period between 3.9 and 4.1 billion years ago in which the moon underwent massive meteoric bombardment. Allan Hill 84001 is thought to have been ejected from Mars through similar bombardment.
Some people feel that it is very possible that life (microbial) originated on other planets, and was then transferred to Earth. The discovery of Allan Hill 84001 and other Martian meteorites shows that a transport system does indeed exist.
Jack Farmer and David Des Marais from NASA's Ames Space Science Division said in a recent report that "of the other planets in our solar system, Mars holds the greatest potential for having developed extraterrestrial life".
Ironically, life on Earth was thought to have originated on Earth between 3.5 and 4.1 billion years ago.
Original file name: .CNI - Mars Meteorite 3.15
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