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A huge meteorite impact on Mars five million years ago blasted toward Earth many of the rocks that scientists scrutinize to learn more about the Red Planet, a new study reveals.

The cosmic crash left a 34-mile-wide (55 kilometers) gouge on Mars called Mojave Crater and is the source of all "shergottite" or igneous rock Martian meteorites found on Earth, researchers say. Examining the crater and the meteorites also led to new revelations about how old the rocks are.

"We tried to find good arguments to convince ourselves that [Mojave Crater] was five million years or younger. You don’t expect this size of crater so recently formed, statistically at least," lead author Stephanie Werner, a planetary scientist at the University of Oslo in Norway, told Space.com. [Mars Meteorites: Red Planet Pieces on Earth (Photos)]

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