How could scientists affirm that a meteorite comes from Mars and not from another source ? This is a probability or an absolute certainty ? How much percent ?

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by 'comes from Mars'? $\endgroup$
    – Wouter
    Feb 7 '13 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ The question seems clear to me. Some meteorites found in Antarctica have been claimed to be from Mars, and Antonio is simply asking how we know this. Antonio, this isn't my area but a quick Google found meteorite.unm.edu/site_media/pdf/MarsMeteorites.pdf and this answers your question for at least one class of meteorites. $\endgroup$ Feb 7 '13 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_meteorite#Subdivision This might help you too $\endgroup$ Feb 7 '13 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie Okay, that wasn't clear to me without any references since I didn't know about those meteorites. I guess it is clear to people who do know about them. Thanks for clearing it up. $\endgroup$
    – Wouter
    Feb 7 '13 at 18:52

Essentially, a chemical and mineralogical comparison is made between the meteorite and samples taken from the Martian surface and atmosphere - particularly from the article The SNC meteorites are from Mars (Treiman et al. 2000, Planetary and Space Science, vol. 48, pp. 1213-1230), that states:

Most telling is that the SNC meteorites contain traces of gas which is very similar in elemental and isotopic compositions to the modern Martian atmosphere as measured by Viking landers on Mars and spectroscopy from Earth. The Martian atmosphere appears to have a unique composition in the solar system, so its presence in the SNCs is accepted as strong direct evidence that they formed on Mars.

Figure 1 of that article shows a comparison of relative abundances of isotope from the Martian atmosphere and the Martian meteorites found on Earth.


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