The history of our solar system is a history of collisions. Massive, world-shattering collisions. Evidence of these collisions rains down on us every day in the form of meteorites—rocks hurled into space when massive asteroids crash into each other. For the first time, researchers have examined some of the rocky relics of a particularly colossal crash that occurred 466 million years ago. The results, published in Nature Astronomy, show that some of the rarest meteorites of the modern world were once commonplace, making up more than a third of the total space debris.
If you want to track down meteorite debris, UCL Qatar professor Thilo Rehren explains in a phone interview, you have a couple options: your best bet is to scour for the black chunks of rock in the white plains of Antarctica, "but the second best place to hunt meteorites is the Sahara Desert," where it's relatively easy to find space rocks amid the expansive, light sands. About 5,000 years ago, that's where the Egyptians likely looked.
Meteorite chunks that fell in Morocco last summer came from Mars, yielding an unexpected 7 kilo sample of the Red Planet, scientists confirmed recently. It's the first time in 50 years - and only the fifth time ever - that scientists have chemically confirmed that pieces of rock came from Mars.