'Martian meteorites are only samples on Earth'
Florence, August 23 - The Planetary Science Museum of Prato, near Florence, announced the discovery of a new meteorite from Mars on Thursday, as NASA's Curiosity Rover explores the Red Planet in a mission that could demonstrate the Red Planet was once hospitable to organic life. Scientists at the museum a few days ago determined that an in-house metorite named NWA (North-West Africa) 7387 actually originated from Mars. The new discovery was announced just as NASA's $2.5-billion Curiosity started practising moving around on its own in Mars and extending its robotic arm together with its attached camera, drill, and dirt-studying instruments to help it explore the plant's surface and let it take terrain samples. The museum came to its conclusion thanks to other labs and institutes who sent meteorites and space fragments for comparison. "The discovery of a Martian meteorite is always a very important moment for science," said museum researchers Vanni Moggi Cecchi and Stefano Caporali. "It's opportune to note that to date none of the various Red Planet missions returned with physical objects, so Martian meteorites at the moment are the only material testimony that exist in relation to this fascinating place". The NWA 7387 label was given, as always, by the Meteoritic Society, a world leading organization in the study of extraterrestrial material The same researchers in 2008 identified another Martian meteorite called NWA 4222 as well as an equivalently rare lunar stone called NWA 6687 in 2010. Aside from a wide variety of standard meteorites, the Museum also hosts a series of very rare samples with atypical characteristics considered extremely precious by the scientific community. (photo: stock meteorite picture)