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The International Meteorite Black Market

November 21, 2012

At 2 a.m. on 18 July, 2011, nomads in the Oued Drâa valley, to the east of Tata, Morocco, witnessed a ball of fire streak across the sky, followed by a series of sonic booms.

The explanation was as surprising to scientists as to those who saw it fall: a meteorite from Mars had made its way to Earth.

Martian meteorites comprise only 0.15% of meteorites known to science—that’s a mere 61 out of 41,000 specimens. The Moroccan meteorite — which was named Tissint after a village 48km southwest of a recovery site — was particularly exciting.

Because the fall was witnessed, it took only three months for fragments to be recovered, which minimized the meteorite’s exposure to oxygen, rainwater, and other contaminating factors on Earth. This, combined with the dry climate of Saharan Morocco, meant that the meteorite was in stellar condition.

Excerpt of an article written by Audrey Tempelsman, at The Naked Scientists. Continue HERE

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