A team of researchers from different countries found five new meteorites in Antarctica — one of them even weighs 7.7 kg. Despite being one of the most extreme places on the planet, Antarctica’s dry climate helps preserve meteorites, which easily stand out amid the local frozen landscape.
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Scientist Maria Valdes estimates that, of the 45,000 meteorites already recovered from Antarctica in the last 50 years, about 100 of them are 7.7 kg or larger. “Size doesn’t necessarily matter in meteorites, and even small micrometeorites can be incredibly valuable scientifically,” she said. “But, of course, finding a large meteorite like this is rare, and very exciting.”
They were the first to explore possible new meteorite sites using satellite imagery. “Going on an adventure exploring unknown areas is exciting, but we also had to deal with the fact that reality on the ground is much more difficult than the beauty of satellite images,” said Vinciane Debaille, mission leader.
Now, the five recovered meteorites will be analyzed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. The sediments with possible micrometeorites were divided among the team members, so that they could be analyzed in their respective institutions.
Most meteorites come from asteroids, but some of them are rocks from the surface of other planets. As they can help researchers better understand our place in the universe, Valdes is eager to see what their analyzes will reveal. “The larger the sample we have of them, the better we can understand our Solar System and ourselves”, she concluded.
Source: Field Museum