Meteorite from the Algerian desert
The NWA1385 is a Mesosiderite found by a nomad in the Algerian desert. Via a market in Tindouf, the meteorite came to Europe in 2020. After research at the Appalachian State University in the USA, it was determined to be a mesosiderite meteorite consisting of 25% nickel iron and 75% silicate. Here the meteorite has been given the official name NWA 13858.
A mesosiderite is an enigmatic meteorite that belongs to the differentiated meteorites. They are breccias that are a mixture of nickel iron and silica. How exactly they are formed is still unknown. A celestial body usually consists of a metal core and a mantle of stone (silica). In this meteorite, this material has been mixed up. It seems that the metal was still in a liquid state when this happened. How this is possible is still the subject of various theories, from large impacts to celestial bodies falling apart and coming together again.
Another peculiarity of this type of meteorite is its extremely long cooling time. The mesosiderite is one of the slowest of all known physical elements. This suggests that the meteorite was once part of a much larger entity. However, it is unclear which object this must have belonged to. Oxygen isotope analysis of the silicates suggests a link between HED meteorites and the Vesta asteroid. However, this asteroid is still intact, which does not explain the composition of the mesosiderite. For now it remains a mystery.