A piece of a Martian meteorite from the Museum’s collection will be returned to the red planet as part of the ground-breaking NASA Mars 2020 rover mission.
The rock fell to Earth from Mars and was discovered in Oman in 1999. It will soon be returned to it’s home planet. The sample has been in the care of the Natural History Museum since 2000.
The rock will be used as a calibration instrument for the rover once it lands on Mars. The rover will have a high-precision laser, camera and a spectrometer instrument called SHERLOC. These can be used to illuminate rock features as fine as a human hair.
As an innovative global science leader, we’re thrilled that the Museum is able to open up its world-class collection – in this instance a meteorite that was blasted off Mars between 600 and 700 thousand years ago – and become an integral part of the Mars 2020 mission, a monumental journey of space exploration, pushing the boundaries of science in a truly international endeavour.Professor Caroline Smith