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Mars

Part of Hall of Meteorites.

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Rocks from another world

Pieces of Mars that fall to Earth as meteorites gave us our first samples of the surface of another planet.

The martian landscape looks strikingly similar to the deserts of Earth. But billions of years ago, water flowed in abundance on Mars, carving huge canyons bigger than any on Earth, and immense volcanoes have gushed forth mountains of lava since that time.

Today, dust storms swirl over a barren surface scarred by impact craters-one or more of which may mark the site of impacts that dislodged the meteorites displayed here. But large amounts of water still lie frozen just beneath the Martian surface, raising hopes that some form of life might have arisen on Mars.

In 1996, one Martian meteorite caused a stir w