LOS ANGELES (January 3, 2013)--A 2-billion-year-old rock from Mars that landed on Earth is quite different from other Martian meteorites, scientists say.
The rock is older than most and contains more water and it’s also similar to volcanic rocks examined by the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity on the Martian surface, they say.
About 65 Martian meteorites have been recovered on Earth, mostly in Antarctica or the Sahara Desert.
The oldest dates back 4.5 billion years while the rest are 1.3 billion years old or younger.
The recently tested 2-billion-year-old rock is about the size of a baseball.
An American who bought it from a meteorite dealer last year donated it to the University of New Mexico.
Researchers performed tests to confirm its age and origin.
The findings were published online Thursday in the journal Science.