Mars rocks fell to earth last summer

Experts confirm Martian rocks fell in Africa last July

Published On: Jan 17 2012 12:59:02 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 17 2012 01:01:43 PM EST
WASHINGTON -

Scientists are confirming a recent and rare invasion from Mars -- meteorite chunks that fell from the red planet over Morocco last summer.

This is only the fifth time experts have chemically confirmed fresh Martian rocks fell to Earth. The last time was in 1962. Scientists believe this meteorite fell last July in North Africa because there were sightings of it.

A special committee of meteorite experts, which includes some NASA scientists, confirmed the test results Tuesday. They certified that 15 pounds of meteorite recently collected came from Mars. The biggest rock weighs over 2 pounds.

Astronomers think that millions of years ago something big smashed into Mars that sent fragments hurtling through the solar system. Occasionally, some fall on Earth.