Scientists say they have found an extremely rare meteorite in Antarctica that contains centuries-old space rock – the oldest material in the Solar System.
“We were all very excited to see this one sitting alone in the middle of the blue ice,” said Maria Valdes, a researcher at the Chicago Field Museum. He told the publication “Chicago Tribune”.
17 pounds meteoriteDescribed as roughly “the size of a pumpkin,” it was discovered in January. 5 by the international team at the end of the 11-day expedition.
The unusual rock, which contains material dating back billions of years, is one of the largest meteorites ever found on the continent and likely originated in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. “The Independent” reported on this.
“To put the size of the meteorite into perspective, of the 45,000 meteorites recovered from Antarctica in the last century, only 100 are this size or larger,” said the Chicago Field Museum, which was part of the expedition.
Researchers on snowmobiles spent the better part of two weeks combing the ice fields in search of meteorites, The Tribune reported, when they made a surprising discovery as they neared the end of their exploration.
Valdes noted that they were hesitant to register at first, “because we knew that if we found a meteorite, it really was the mother lode. In the last day, in the last hour.”
Valdes told the newspaper that team members were convinced they had found a truly rare space rock after discovering it was “about the size of a bowling ball but twice the weight of a bowling ball.”
The rock had what Valdes described as a “fusion shell”—a glassy outer layer that melts slightly as it enters the atmosphere. It was also weathered, a sign that it had been on Earth for many centuries.
The meteorite was sent to the Institute of Natural Sciences of the Kingdom of Belgium for chemical analysis.
“All meteorites have something to say about Earth’s evolution,” Valdes said. “Size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even small micrometeorites can be incredibly scientifically valuable.”
“The Independent” writes that more than 45,000 meteorites found in Antarctica in the last century weighed only a few grams.
The discovery was successfully made months later by NASA destroyed an asteroid 530 feet wide In a test race to prepare for the possibility that a giant space rock, the size of a 6.2-mile-wide asteroid that scientists believe could hurtle toward Earth and threaten it deleted dinosaurs Millions of years ago.
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