Scientists baffled by mysterious meteorites in Antarctic

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Washington, March 13 : A pair of mysterious meteorites discovered in Antarctica in 2006, has baffled scientists, who are trying to determine their origin.

According to a report in National Geographic News, The meteorites, dubbed GRA 06128 and GRA 06129, were found in the Graves Nunataks region of Antarctica in 2006 by a team from the University of New Mexico (UNM).

According to the discoverers, the space rocks were oddly rusty and salty and smelled like rotten eggs.

Initially, the UNM team caused a stir when its analysis hinted that the pair might have come from Earth, the moon, or the Venus.

But other teams then hurried to get pieces of the space rocks for analysis of their own-and for the most part, they disagree.

According to the newer analysis, the rock is also much older than the Venusian surface, thereby eliminating that possibility. GRA 06128 looks like rocks retrieved from the lunar highlands by the Apollo 16 astronauts in 1972, but it contains much more sodium, research has shown.

"The identity of the meteorites' source remains exciting and mysterious," said Allan Treiman, a scientist with the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, who led one of the recent investigations of the rocks.

"From what has been reported so far, it's pretty clear that the meteorite is not from the Earth, or the moon, or Venus, or any of the common sources of meteorites," he said. "Although initial oxygen isotopic compositions are consistent with an origin in the Earth-Moon system, numerous observations appear to eliminate both bodies," said Chip Shearer, who had led the UNM team.

"Whether or not its home is discovered, GRA 06128 is a pretty puzzle, and will help us understand how asteroids form and how they evolve to become planets," said Treiman.

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