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.
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: curator.jsc.nasa.gov/antmet/forms/
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