Monday, December 12, 2005

Meteorites and lots of ice

Have you ever wondered how they find meteorites in the Antarctic? Perhaps you heard about the Martian Meteorite they found a bunch of years ago? The annual ANSMET search team is on the ice and they have a blog to keep you up to date on their progress this season. Two of the team members this year have worked or still work at LPL at the UofA - look for mentions of Jani and Oz.

The Antarctic is a great place to find meteorites because the glaciers cover most of the rocks natural to the area. Meteorites land randomly on the face of the Earth, but in the Antarctic, they land on the ice and there are places that are especially good because the ice flows into areas and evaporates leaving a higher concentration of meteorites. And the meteorites they find there are preserved better than many other places on Earth thinks to the arid climate. The ANSMET team spends around 6 weeks out on the ice living and searching. They have to watch out for crevases as well as meteorites and hopefully will find the meteorite. Working in the Antarctic is probably a lot like it will be to live and work on the Moon and Mars in the future. You're far from home and living under relatively hostile conditions. Sounds like fun!


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