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Rocks from Mars land on Earth

This handout phoprovided by Darryl Pitt Macovich Collectishows view internal structure first Martian meteorite (specimens planet Mars) known have struck

This handout photo provided by Darryl Pitt of the Macovich Collection shows a view of the internal structure of the first Martian meteorite (specimens of the planet Mars) known to have struck Earth in 49 years. Recovered in December 2011 near Foumzgit, Morocco following a meteorite shower believed to have occurred in July 2011. Scientists are confirming a recent and rare invasion from Mars _ meteorite chunks that fell from the red planet over Morocco last summer. Meteorites from Mars are more than 1 million times rarer than gold. And 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 because there were sightings of it. (AP Photo/Darryl Pitt of the Macovich Collection)

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Updated: February 19, 2012 8:24AM

WASHINGTON — Scientists are confirming that 15 pounds of rock collected recently in Morocco fell to Earth from Mars during a meteorite shower last July.

This is only the fifth time in history scientists have chemically confirmed Martian meteorites that people witnessed falling.

The rocks are fetching big bucks because they are among the rarest things on Earth. Meteorite dealer Darryl Pitt said he is charging $11,000 to $22,500 an ounce and has sold most of his supply already. At that price, the Martian rock costs about 10 times as much as gold.

Astronomers think millions of years ago something big smashed into Mars and sent rocks hurtling through the solar system. After a long journey through space, one of those rocks plunged through Earth’s atmosphere.


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