The famous crater on Mars that ejected a meteorite with 4.4 billion-year-old fragments is identified by artificial intelligence in a stunning image
- Researchers used machine learning to identify the crater on Mars that ejected the ancient Black Beauty meteorite
- The meteorite contains the oldest Martian fragments ever found, at 4.48 billion years old, and it shows similarities between the very old crust of Mars and that of Earth.
- “We’re also adapting the algorithm that was used to identify Black Beauty’s ejection point from Mars to unlock other moon and Mercury secrets”
- Researchers named the specific Mars crater after the city of Karratha, home to one of Earth’s oldest rocks
New research that harnessed the power of artificial intelligence has identified the specific crater on Mars that ejected the ancient Black Beauty meteorite.
The researchers named the Mars crater after the Australian town of Karratha, home to one of the oldest rocks on Earth.
The discovery offers unknown details about the Martian meteorite NWA 7034, nicknamed “Black Beauty”, which was discovered in Africa in 2011, according to researchers.
“For the first time, we know the geological context of the only brecciated Martian sample available on Earth,” says Dr Anthony Lagain. Pictured is the distribution of 90 million craters on the surface of Mars, obtained from the crater detection algorithm
“For the first time, we know the geological context of the only brecciated Martian sample available on Earth, 10 years before NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission was scheduled to return samples collected by the Perseverance rover currently exploring Jezero Crater.” , lead author Dr. Anthony Lagain, from Curtin University’s Center for Space Science and Technology in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said in a statement.
Brecciated simply means that the meteorite contains angular fragments of several types of rock cemented together, which makes it unique – all other Martian meteorites contain only one type of rock.
Powerful supercomputers have allowed scientists to identify the crater on Mars that ejected a famous meteorite. Pictured: left, artistic impression of where an asteroid hit the surface of Mars 5-10 Ma ago, ejecting Black Beauty and transiting Earth (white line). On the right, the dataset and methods used to identify the meteorite ejection site
“Finding the region where the ‘Black Beauty’ meteorite originated is critical because it contains the oldest Martian fragments ever found, 4.48 billion years old, and it shows similarities between the very old crust of Mars, about 4.53 billion years old, and the continents of today’s Earth,” says Lagain.
“The region we identify as the source of this unique Martian meteorite sample is a real window into the planets oldest environment, including Earth, which our planet has lost to plate tectonics and erosion.”
MARCH: THE BASICS
Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, with a dusty, cold and “nearly dead” desert world with a very thin atmosphere.
Mars is also a dynamic planet with seasons, polar caps, canyons, extinct volcanoes, and evidence that it was even more active in the past.
It is one of the most explored planets in the solar system and the only planet that humans have sent rovers to explore.
A day on Mars lasts just over 24 hours and a year has 687 Earth days.
Facts and figures
Orbital period: 687 days
Area: 144.8 million km²
distance from the sun: 227.9 million km
Gravity: 3.721 m/s²
Ray: 3,389.5 km
Moons: Phobos, Deimos
The researchers used one of the fastest supercomputers from the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Center and Curtin University’s Hub for Immersive Visualization and eResearch to analyze a massive amount of high-resolution imagery with machine learning to detect craters.
“We’re also adapting the algorithm that was used to locate Black Beauty’s ejection point from Mars to unlock other moon and Mercury secrets,” study co-author and professor Gretchen Benedix, also from the Curtin Space Science and Technology Center at the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, explains.
Earth’s geological record of how it formed and differentiated has been largely destroyed by its evolution, the researchers note.
However, we can get some clues from studying other planets.
“We can investigate [Mars] with spacecraft, and samples are available for further analysis on Earth in the form of Martian meteorites,” Benedix says.
“It will help unravel their geological history and answer burning questions that will help future solar system investigations such as the Artemis program to send humans to the moon by the end of the decade or the BepiColombo mission, in orbit around Mercury in 2025. .’
The full article is published in Nature Communications.
Researchers hope to use this discovery to learn more about Earth’s evolution. Pictured: Karratha crater on Mars (center) in Dampier crater
“We can investigate [Mars] with spacecraft, and samples are available for further analysis on Earth in the form of Martian meteorites,” Benedix says. Pictured: The Black Beauty meteorite