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Green Meteorite Found in Morocco is Likely from Mercury, Scientists Say

Update Date: Mar 30, 2013 09:17 PM EDT
Scientists believe a recently discovered meteorite could be from Mercury (Photo : Handout)

Scientists surveying and studying a collection of 35 meteorites that landed in Morocco last year, say that a mysterious green rock dubbed NWA 7325 is likely from Mercury, according to reports.

The green meteorite is under examination by a group of scientists at the University of Washington. The findings were presented during the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

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NWA 7325 has a lower magnetic strength compared to other space rocks scientists have surveyed, Anthony Irving, a meteorite scientist from the University of Washington said, according to Space.com.

"It might be a sample from Mercury, or it might be a sample from a body smaller than Mercury but [which] is like Mercury," Irving said, adding that a severe impact could have shot NWA 7325 out from Mercury to Earth.

Scientists were able to rule out more common meteorites from Mars and the space rock Vesta as they both have distinct chemical characteristics which were not found in the new green Mercury meteorite. Data collected by NASA's Messenger spacecraft provided astronomers with the necessary data; Data collected by the spacecraft shows the planet's low magnetism closely resembles that of NWA 7325.

NASA is considering extending Messenger's mission through 2015, a timeframe that could lend itself to further scientific discoveries that prove or negate Anthony Irving's findings.

The scientists were unable to put a monetary value on what the space rock is worth. Martian space rocks are among the rarest materials on Earth and they often sell for around $11,000 to $22,500 an ounce.

The collection of space rocks that fell in the desert of Morocco in 2012 captured worldwide attention at the time. Astronomers, in the weeks that followed, confirmed that 15 pounds of meteorite from Mars fell, providing one of the largest collections of pristine space rocks ever collected.

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