New research led by Curtin has identified the entire home of the oldest and most famous Martian meteorite for the first time. It offers critical geological clues about Mars’ earliest origins.

The new research, published today in Nature Communications, identified the so-called Black Beauty meteorite weighing 320 grams and the specific crater on Mars that ejected paired stones, using a multidisciplinary approach involving a machine learning algorithm. It was found in North Africa in 2011.

Researchers named the particular Martian crater after the Pilbara city of Karratha, located 1,500 km north of Perth in Western Australia and home to one of the oldest terrestrial rocks.

D., of the Center for Space Science and Technology at Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Anthony Lagain said the exciting discovery offers previously unknown details about the Martian meteorite NWA 7034, known as “Black Beauty.” widely studied worldwide. Black Beauty is the only brecciated Martian specimen available on Earth. It contains angular fragments of multiple rock types glued together, unlike all other Martian meteorites with single rock types.

Finding the site where the “Black Beauty” meteorite originated is crucial because it contains the oldest 4.48 billion-year-old Martian fragments found in it and shows similarities between the 4.53 billion-year-old ancient crust of Mars and the very ancient crust of Mars. The region we identify as the source of this unique Martian meteorite specimen provides an actual window into the oldest environment of the planets, including Earth, which our world has lost to plate tectonics and erosion.”

The discovery was made thanks to an algorithm developed in-house at Curtin by an interdisciplinary group that includes members of the Curtin Institute of Computing and the School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, as well as CSIRO and the Australian Space Data Analysis Facility. With funding from the Australian Research Council.

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