A strange green rock discovered in Morocco last year could be the first meteorite from Mercury, reported Space.com.
Scientists are examining a collection of 35 meteorites that landed in Morocco last year. They suggest that a green space rock, called NWA 7325, from the group likely came from Mercury and not from an asteroid or Mars. The space rock could be the first visitor from Mercury, according to meteorite scientist Anthony Irving.
"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 large impact could have shot NWA 7325 out of Mercury to Earth.
Irving presented the new findings this month at the 44th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
According to him, the green space rock does not resemble anything that has been found before on Earth. He also ruled out the possibility that the rock could be from Mars or from an asteroid. Space rocks from Mars and asteroids have distinct chemical characteristics that were not found in the green meteorite.
NWA 7325 has a lower magnetic intensity and data collected from NASA's Messenger spacecraft, which is orbiting Mercury, suggests that the planet's low magnetism resembles that found in NWA 7325, Irvin said.
Moreover, data sent by Messenger also showed that Mercury has low iron content. The meteorite found in Morocco is low in iron, which further confirms the hypothesis that the rock is from Mercury.
Messenger orbiter has completed its extended mission to orbit and study Mercury. But, scientists analyzing the rock have requested NASA to extend the mission until 2015. If NASA agrees to it, the orbiter will spend more time studying and sending data about the planet. This could help scientists to further determine the origin of the rock.