I held a piece of Mars today. 

From the Tissint meteorite, which fell east of Tata, Morocco, on July 18th, 2011. This fragment was blasted from the surface of Mars some 700,000 years ago. Most martian meteorites have been collected in Antarctica some time after their initial fall to earth, but because the Tissint meteorite was collected soon after its collision with our planet, scientists are better able to study elements within its structure that reflect atmospheric, surface, and interior qualities of Mars. This meteorite is the first to indicate the presence of moisture on Mars, due to weathering caused by liquid found within this specimen. 

tl;dr saw the first possible evidence of water on Mars and my brain exploded. 

Read more! and more

Special Delivery — From The Red Planet

At about 2 a.m. local time July 18, 2011, nomads and military personnel south of Tata, Morocco, were awakened by sonic booms and a bright light from a large fireball. One eyewitness reported that the meteor turned from yellow to green and split into two pieces. Three months later in October, nomads found fresh, black fusion-crusted stones about 30 miles south of the village of Tissint. French meteorite hunter Luc Labenne was guided to the site of the fall by local meteorite hunters. He gathered up several samples and sent two grams worth for testing to Brigitte Zanda and Violaine Sauter at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. They determined the crust was very fragile and fresh, good indications that it fell recently. Labenne then sent more pieces to an American researcher who confirmed their Martian origin. (Read more from Astro Bob.)

Photo: A 147g Tissint meteorite with spectacular fusion crust and slightly oriented shape. Credit and copyright: Chladni’s Heirs

Martian Meteorite Unlocking Secrets of the Red Planet

A meteorite that landed in Morocco in July 2011 is helping unlock the secrets of the red planet. The Tissint meteorite was originally formed on Mars around 600 million years ago. This was a typical martian volcanic rock until it was launched off the red planet by an asteroid impact. 

University of Alberta researcher Chris Herd estimates this rock traveled through space from between 700,000 and 1 million years before the earth happened to get in the way.

The research team was able to match trace gases from the meteorite to samples taken by the Viking lander in 1976. This finding leads to the question, if the gases from Mars can survive in a meteorite after an impact, traveling billions of kilometers, and a million years in space, what else might be able to survive.

Panspermia is the theory that life, or the ingredients for life, can be spread by impact ejecta, like the Tissint meteorite, asteroids, or comets. Organic chemistry is known to be common in space; amino acids have even been found in meteorites on earth. But could a life form survive all this? It is still up for much debate but the idea is gaining more and more acceptance the more we learn.


Sources/Extra Reading



On July 18, 2011 a large yellow and green streak was seen over the skies of North Africa, followed by two distinct sonic booms. October 2011, nomadic people of Morrocco began finding meteorite fragments near the small town of Tissint. The Tissint meteorite hits the auction block this weekend, so today we have a three words that are often confused or used interchangeably: meteor, meteoroid and meteorite. The word meteor comes directly from the Ancient Greek word ta meteora which meant a celestial phenomenon. Today a meteor is the visible manifestation of that celestial phenomenon as it enters the earth’s atmosphere. Meteor came into use in Early Modern English in the 15th century. Meteorite was coined in 1824 by adding -ite from the French suffix based on the Latin suffix -ita meaning connected to or belonging to to denote the remains of meteors recovered on the ground. The word meteoroid was coined in 1865 by adding the -oid suffix from the Ancient Greek word eidos meaning shape or form to denote a celestial body smaller than an asteroid yet still visible from Earth.

Bidding will reportedly start at US$230,000 so bring your checkbook!

The Tissint Meteorite - A Bombardment From Mars!

A STUNNING 147 gram Tissint Specimen

We have all seen films that toy with the possibility of Earth being hit by a giant asteroid.

What is not commonly known is that in July 2011 there was a REAL bombardment from Mars!cre

The meteorite fell in Morocco and wasn’t discovered until December 2011 but has amazed meteorite collectors across the World.

The fall,known first as Tata - but has now been renamed TISSINT after the area in Morocco has generated such excitement for two reasons.

One reason  is the SIZE of the fall.
While the exact weight will never be known as the meteorite broke up on entry - and much of it was also smashed into chunks when it landed in the desert.
It is now thought that at least 7 Kilograms of Martian rock fell in the desert.
This is huge in comparison with most Martian meteorites.
It has led to a windfall for some meteorite dealers as samples have been selling for at least $600 per gram.

Another reason the Tissint Meteorite has been so sought after is the incredible freshness of the material.
Many meteorites lay on Earth for hundreds and even thousands of years before they are found.
This means that the chemical composition is changed dramatically and makes it less useful to scientists.
While plenty of probes have visited Mars - unlike with Moon rocks - none have ever returned from Mars.

This means that these are some of the only pristine samples of Martian rock available for study.

The meteorite has the most amazing appearance.
The outer surface has a dark grey shiny surface called fusion crust.
This is the result of the rock being heated and partially melted as it shoots through the Earths atmosphere.

The specimens here are owned by Chladni’s Heirs - Probably the finest purveyors of planetary meteorites on Earth.
( They also provide some of the specimens I sell and also use in jewellery and I THOROUGHLY recommend them. They are lovely chaps too)

UPDATE - 8th February

A MASSIVE 1 Kilo chunk  of the Tissint Mars Meteorite has been donated to the Natural History Museum in London to help with their research.
read more HERE

UPDATE - 5 March 2012
There is a super blog on the Open University Site

Read it HERE

Ian Barrett
Jurassic Jewellery

Meteorite From Mars Contains Alien Biomass
Moscow, Russia (Sputnik) Dec 04, 2014
External image
Chinese scientists discovered that a meteorite of Martian origin that hit Earth in Morocco in summer 2011, contains signs of water and organic carbon combinations, which may be evidence of extraterrestrial life dating 700,000 years back in time. Meteorite ‘Tissint’ landed in the midst of Moroccan desert of Guelmim-Es Semara on 18 July, 2011, roughly 700,000 years after it was chopped off t
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