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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Q&BA: How do we know some meteorites come from Mars?

By Phil Plait

This Q&BA video's a bit longer than usual, but what the heck. It's a fun topic!

First: every now again when I have time I do an interactive live video chat on Google+ where people can ask me questions about space and astronomy. I call it Q&BA, and it's always fun to hear what questions are on people's minds.

In this episode of Q&BA, I was asked about Mars meteorites: how do they get to Earth? I talk about their transport mechanism, as well as how they get blasted of the surface of Mars, and how we know they come from the Red Planet at all. It's a pretty common question, and a pretty cool little slice of science.

[Note: I was having software issues when I recorded this on a Google+ Hangout in January 2012, and the aspect ratio is a bit wonky.]

So there you go. I've seen a few Mars meteorites, and they're pretty nifty. One of these days I'll have to see about getting one to add to my collection of iron and stony meteorites, too. It's be nice to have a chunk of actual planet that's not Earth sitting on my display shelf.

I have an archive of Q&BA links and videos. Take a look and see if there are other ones that tickle your imagination.

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