Meteorite hunters find a 17-pound space rock in Antarctica

The 16.7-pound (7.6-kilogram) meteorite was found sitting on the surface of the Antarctic desert, its black makeup contrasting with the snow.
picture: Maria Valdes

Researchers combing the surface of Antarctica in search of space rocks hit the jackpot by finding five meteorites in the tundra, one of which weighed about 17 pounds.

the campaign The team found the meteorites sitting atop the snow in Antarctica, where the black bodies of rock were stuck up against the continent’s white snowfields. Antarctica Perfect place to find relatively undisturbed space rocks, Because its arid climate prevents excessive weathering over time. Maria Valdes, research scientist with the Field Museum The University of Chicago and her team found a total of five meteorites during their hunt in December, one of which weighed 16.7 pounds (7.6 kg).

Valdez said Permit. “But of course, finding a large meteorite like this is really rare and exciting.”

Researchers Maria Schönbachler, Maria Valdés, Rioga Maeda, and Vincien Debaile pose with the largest meteorites.

Researchers Maria Schönbachler, Maria Valdés, Rioga Maeda, and Vincien Debaile pose with the largest meteorites.
picture: Maria Valdes

Valdes estimates that, Of the tens of thousands of meteorites found in Antarctica, only about 100 are the size of the ones her team found. to find the Meteorites, researchers rode on the ice and Walked in pre-determined areas via satellite images as possible landing sites for meteorites. When the team found a suspected meteorite, they used a portable instrument to test the rock’s magnetic propertiesValdes explained in an email to gizmodo. While most of these meteorites remain on the surface, even those that sink into the ice will reappear Glaciers shift and move.

“Going on an adventure exploring unknown areas is exciting,” said Vinciane Debaille, a member of the research team from Université Libre de Bruxelles, in a statement. “But we also had to deal with the fact that the reality on the ground is much more difficult than the beauty of satellite images.”

While the find is exciting, the next step for the scientists is to determine what the meteorites can tell us about the universe. The five rocks found by Valdes and her team are being analyzed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, while soil samples from the area will be analyzed by the team themselves.

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