A meteorite's return journey from Oman to Mars
On a uniquely scientific precedent between January and February 2001, geologists from Bern University and the Natural History Museum in Bern discovered over 180 meteorites in Oman. A piece of Mars rock is the most thrilling discovery (Natural History Museum, 2001). NASA's Perseverance rover, who in recent time touched down on the Martian surface, had a unique payload onboard. A meteorite fragment from Mars named 'Sayh Al Uhaymir 008' found its way to Oman and was returned onboard the rover, a world-first.
According to NASA, "The Sultanate meteorite fragment was preserved at the Natural History Museum in London, which houses a collection of interesting and diverse meteorites from around the world. Only 424 Martian meteorite fragments have been discovered on our mother Earth" (Oman, 2021)When working on the Perseverance project, scientists proposed using a Martian meteorite discovered on Earth to aid in the processing of images captured by the rover into their true colors and textures, free of any natural influences. It was also decided that the Martian meteorite would serve as a calibration target directly rather than using a piece of metal or colored pieces with specific colors as is customary, according to NASA.
Dr. Saud bin Humaid Al Shuaili, head of the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology's National Space Program management team, said: "Meteorites are always of interest to research centers all over the world. This is due to their close ties to astronomy, space science, and earth sciences. As a result, the Sultanate of Oman's related research and study centers should be more interested in these meteorites. Each meteor contains a wealth of data about the solar system. Astronomers and geologists will find it a gold mine of scientific data"