Earth’s largest Martian rock on display in Maine

Northeast

Surface of Mars (in true color).

BETHEL, Maine (NewsNation Now) — The largest intact Mars rock on Earth is now on permanent display at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum. The meteorite is known as Taoudenni 002.

The 32-pound rock is the second meteorite to be recovered near Taoudenni, Mali, a desert salt-mining center 400 miles north of Timbuktu, according to a museum press release. The stone measures approximately 9 inches wide, 10 inches long and 6.5 inches tall. 

The meteorite is primarily comprised of pyroxene, olivine and maskekynite.

NASA scientists say the meteorite’s origin can be traced to Mars because of tiny gas bubbles in the rock that matched Martian atmosphere as determined by NASA’s Viking probes from 1995.

The Taoudenni 002 was acquired by meteorite dealer Darryl Pitt in April 2021. The rock was then verified by Dr. Carl Agee, director of the Institute of Meteoritics and one of the world’s most renowned classification experts of Martian meteorites.

“This is a spectacular specimen of Mars,” said Pitt. “And it’s the perfect accompaniment to the exhibit just across the room: the largest known piece of the Moon other than the Moon itself.”

The rock is now a part of the museum’s renowned collection of extraterrestrial rocks, with more than 6,000 from the moon, Mars and the asteroid belt.

The Zagami meteorite was once deemed the largest Martian rock discovered, weighing more than 40 pounds, but it has since been cut into smaller pieces, according to NASA.

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