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Found: Attractive Blue Ice and 219 Meteorites

NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution announced in November 2016 their renewed, interagency cooperative agreement to search for, recover, classify, curate, and distribute Antarctic meteorites. Since 1976 ANSMET—the Antarctic Search for Meteorites program has been an integral part of this partnership, fielding the teams of plucky people who have collected, so far, about 22,000 meteorite specimens.

The ANSMET 2016-2017 team concluded a successful season in the Elephant Moraine (EET) icefields collecting 219 meteorites that are now in transit to the Antarctic Meteorite Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. ANSMET's legendary flexibility and grit in the face of obstacles due to weather and logistical cutbacks helped to ensure this season's ultimate success. Their field notes are a true-life adventure story. The photo, below, shows a meteorite about to be picked up with tongs and bagged.
ANSMET meteorite collection. Click for more information.

2016-2017 ANSMET Team Members Deployed to the Field
Ralph Harvey*, Principal Investigator, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio
Jim Karner*, science lead, Co-I, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio
Alex Meshik*, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
David "Duck" Mittlefehldt*, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
Jani Radebaugh*, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Minako Righter, University of Houston, Texas
Brian Rougeux*, mountaineer
John Schutt*, head mountaineer and field safety officer, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio
            Veterans of previous seasons are marked with an asterisk (*). Harvey and Mittlefehldt did pre-season reconnaissance aerial surveys and field work, respectively.

The steady supply of extraterrestrial materials recovered by the ANSMET program has allowed us to read the cosmochemical and dynamical histories of the solar nebula and our Solar System. These specimens have expanded our understanding of planet formation and even the delivery of water and other volatiles to Earth, essential for life itself. Big insights from small rocks.

Scientists may request meteorite samples through formal applications to the Meteorite Working Group; see information from the NASA Johnson Space Center:

pdf link ANSMET 2016-2017 Field Season (pdf version)

For more information see: the ANSMET website, the February 2017 Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, and from PSRD: Meteorites on Ice,  and  Searching Antarctic Ice for Meteorites.

Also see: 35 Seasons of U.S. Antarctic Meteorites (1976-2010): A Pictorial Guide to the Collection, edited by K. Righter, C. Corrigan, T. McCoy, and R. Harvey. American Geophysical Union and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., December 2014, 320 pages.

Written by Linda Martel, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, for PSRD.

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February 2017