Big Piece Of The Red Planet Is Museum Bound

by Mat Dirjish

Weighing in at 14.5 kg (32 lbs.) and measuring 9 in. x 10 in. x 6.5 in., the largest piece of the planet Mars on Earth is heading for display at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum in the town of Bethel, Maine. The unveiling is set for September 1, 2021.

Taoudenni 002.

How Earthlings acquired this exotic chunk of the red planet is fairly simple. An asteroid impact on the Martian surface ejected surface material as a meteorite into Earth’s orbit and it landed in Taoudenni, Mali, a desert salt-mining center 400 miles north of Timbuktu. Meteorite dealer Darryl Pitt got the Mauritanian meteorite from a desert truffle hunter. Pitt then sent a small sample of the meteorite to Dr. Carl Agee, the director of the Institute of Meteoritics.

Mars Surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

A peer review of Dr. Agee’s analysis confirms this is a piece of the planet Mars. Scientists call the meteorite “Taoudenni 002” as it is the second meteorite recovered from the Taoudenni, Mali area. The meteorite consists of pyroxene, olivine, and maskekynite. To learn more, visit the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum website.

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