26. 06. 12. - 17:26
Martian meteorite to go on display from tomorrow in Vienna
The Natural History Museum in Vienna (NHM) is celebrating a spectacular new acquisition after spending almost half a million to acquire a rare martian meteorite from a private collector.
Martian meteorites differ from regular meteorites in that they were originally part of the red planet – but were jettisoned into space by the impact of another meteorite. These tiny fragments blasted into the martian atmosphere and then into space eventually ended up being trapped in earth's gravity and pulled down to the ground.
The meteorite acquired by the Natural History Museum has already attracted a lot of interest and has been named the "Tissint" meteorite.
It weighs about a kilo and will go on display in Saal V from tomorrow (Wed) – and then will be moved to its new permanent home in the renovated meteorite rooms of the museum in November.
Museum director Christian Köberl said they had learnt that they could make a bid in December and discovered in February that their offer had been accepted.
The museum has the world's oldest meteorite collection which was started in 1748. One of the original meteorites that founded the collection was the so-called Hraschina meteorite that fell to Earth in 1751 landing at Zagreb in Croatia.
Of over 53,000 meteorites that have been found on Earth, 99 were identified as martian. These meteorites are thought to be from Mars because they have elemental and isotopic compositions that are similar to rocks and atmosphere gases analyzed by spacecraft on Mars.