Scientists discover a monstrous 17-pound meteorite in Antarctica
A team of researchers working in Antarctica has discovered a huge meteorite weighing 17 pounds. Rocks falling to Earth from space are not uncommon, but it is very unusual for such a big one to be found. Studying such meteorites could help scientists learn more about early conditions in the solar system and even how planets form.
The researchers found a total of five meteorites, including the giant 17-pounder. Antarctica is an inhospitable place for humans, but a great location for meteorite hunting, thanks to the combination of dry climate and snowy conditions that make it easier to spot dark boulders.
However, as the coldest place on Earth, Antarctica is a difficult place to work, even though it is breathtaking to look at. “Going on an adventure to explore unknown areas is exciting,” said lead researcher Vinciane Debaille of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels. “But we also had to deal with the fact that the reality on the ground is much more difficult than the beauty of satellite imagery.”
Four team members had been scouring the white continent for meteorites, using satellite images used to map the monster’s find. “Size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly scientifically valuable,” said Maria Valdes of the University of Chicago, one of the researchers, in a paper. pronunciation. “But finding a large meteorite like this is obviously rare and very exciting.”
Researchers estimate that of about 45,000 meteorites found so far in Antarctica, only about 100 are this size or larger. Together with the four other meteorites discovered by the team, it will now be shipped to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences for study.
Meteorites are scientifically valuable because they originate beyond Earth and bring part of the solar system to us for study. They can come from asteroids, comets, or even bits of other planets blasted off by an impact. They may also reveal information about the early stages of the solar system, as they may be extremely old and well-preserved due to their time in space.
“Studying meteorites helps us better understand our place in the universe,” Valdes said. “The larger the sample size we have of meteorites, the better we can understand our solar system and the better we can understand ourselves.”
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