Start looking for some meteorites, people: a piece of Mars just discovered by meteor hunters in Morocco has been confirmed as real by NASA. Now it's selling for up to $22,500 an ounce, ten times the price of gold.
A NASA meteorite committee has just confirmed that some 15 pounds of rock from Mars fell to Earth six months ago as the Tissint meteorite. The pieces landed in Morrocco but were only recovered in December. This marks just the fifth time in recorded history that pieces of Mars have made it to our planet. The NASA committee confirmed the rocks' origins through their age and by matching the rock's chemical signature to Mars' known atmospheric signature.
"It's Christmas in January," said former NASA sciences chief Alan Stern, director of the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida. Neither NASA nor the Russian Space Agency have yet to successfully return samples of Martian soil. The scientific community is ecstatic since the rocks, the largest of which weighs two pounds, can provide important clues to Mars' ability to support life.
However, the scientific community is going to have to pay through the nose to get their hands on the precious space debris. Private collectors are shelling out $11,000 to $22,500 per ounce for them, according Meteorite dealer Darryl Pitt. That's ten times the going rate for gold—understandable given that all known Martian meteorites add up to less than 240 pounds of stone. [R&D Magazine]