April 18, 2024

Antarctica is a wonderland for meteorite hunters. Darkish rocks stand out in opposition to the pale, snowy panorama and the dry local weather helps to protect them. A staff of researchers went looking for meteorites in Antarctica and found a uncommon prize: a jumbo 16.7-pound (7.6 kilogram) meteorite.

The meteorite hunters had been thrilled with the invention of a hefty house rock in Antarctica. White helmet: Maria Schönbächler. Inexperienced helmet: Maria Valdes. Black helmet: Ryoga Maeda. Orange helmet: Vinciane Debaille.

Maria Valdes

The meteorite was certainly one of 5 collected by the researchers, who launched into the journey in late December. “Dimension does not essentially matter in relation to meteorites, and even tiny micrometeorites could be extremely scientifically invaluable, however in fact, discovering an enormous meteorite like this one is uncommon, and actually thrilling,” analysis scientist Maria Valdes stated in a statement from the Field Museum on Wednesday.

Valdes estimates round 45,000 meteorites have been present in Antarctica during the last century, however solely about 100 of them have been the scale of the 17-pounder or bigger.   

The staff’s enthusiasm for the bizarre discover could be seen in {a photograph} the place the researchers posed with the rock.

The analysis staff tried out a brand new approach utilizing satellite tv for pc imagery to identify meteorite websites. “Occurring an journey exploring unknown areas is thrilling, however we additionally needed to take care of the truth that the truth on the bottom is far more troublesome than the fantastic thing about satellite tv for pc pictures,” stated Université Libre de Bruxelles glaciology scholar Vinciane Debaille. 

Whereas the December timing put the staff in Antarctica through the area’s summertime, the expedition nonetheless braved chilly temperatures and prolonged snowmobile rides and treks.

The meteorites are destined for research on the Royal Belgian Institute of Pure Sciences. Every one is a window into the cosmos. “The larger a pattern measurement we’ve of meteorites,” Valdes stated, “the higher we are able to perceive our photo voltaic system, and the higher we are able to perceive ourselves.”