Curiosity Rover confirms strange meteorite on Mars using laser

NASA’s Curiosity Rover spotted a dark, golf ball-sized object earlier this week that looks completely different than the typical rocks found on the red planet.

The object was spotted on a section of Mars' Mount Sharp and images of the smooth spherical object peaked researchers interest, NASA said in a statement.

The rover used an onboard laser to zap the object and confirm that it was an iron-nickel meteorite, which fell from the Martian sky, according to a statement from NASA. The object, which was named “Egg Rock,” after a site on Maine, is the first object to be tested with the rover’s laser-firing ChemCam instrument, NASA said.

And while the meteorite looks like it belongs on a faraway planet, the iron-nickel meteorites are also found on Earth.

The Martian meteorite could provide insight into how exposure to eh Martian environment affects meteorites, in comparison with those on Earth.

"Iron meteorites provide records of many different asteroids that broke up, with fragments of their cores ending up on Earth and on Mars," said ChemCam team member Horton Newsom in a statement. "Mars may have sampled a different population of asteroids than Earth has.

Follow @MaryBowerman on Twitter. 

PHOTOS | From the surface of Earth's red neighbor, Mars


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