Ancient Martian meteorite preserves chunks of planet’s early crust

Rock could reveal what Mars was like 4.4 billion years ago

1:00pm, November 20, 2013

ANCIENT CRUST  The meteorite NWA 7533 is embedded with crystals that date back to 4.4 billion years ago, when the Martian crust first solidified.

Pieces of Mars’ original 4.4-billion-year-old crust have shown up in fragments of a smooth black rock recovered in the Sahara Desert, researchers report November 20 in Nature. The meteorite pieces are among the oldest planetary artifacts ever discovered and could provide insight into surface conditions on Mars during its infancy.

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