NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity is investigating a metallic meteorite the size of a large watermelon that is providing researchers more details about the Red Planet's environmental history.
The rock, dubbed "Block Island," is larger than any other known meteorite on Mars. Scientists calculate it is too massive to have hit the ground without disintegrating unless Mars had a much thicker atmosphere than it has now when the rock fell. Atmosphere slows the descent of meteorites. Additional studies also may provide clues about how weathering has affected the rock since it fell.