Antarctica, five meteorites found: one weighs almost 8 kilos

Antarctica, five meteorites found: one weighs almost 8 kilos

Antarctica five meteorites found one weighs almost 8 kilos

Antarctica, five meteorites found: one weighs almost 8 kilos

“Size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly valuable from a scientific point of view,” says Maria Valdés, “but obviously it’s rare and really exciting to find a meteorite that big.”

The mission that Valdés took part in was led by Vinciane Debaille from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Fnrs-Ulb) and Maria Schönbächler (Eth-Zürich) and Ryoga Maeda (Vub-Ulb) were also part of the team.

1674126247 238 Antarctica five meteorites found one weighs almost 8 kilos

This young group was the first to explore potential new meteorite sites, which were mapped using satellite imagery by Veronica Tollenaar, a doctoral student in glaciology at Ulb.

“It’s exciting to embark on an adventure to explore uncharted territory,” says Debaille, “but we also had to confront the fact that the reality on the ground is much more difficult than the beauty of satellite imagery.”

1674126250 269 Antarctica five meteorites found one weighs almost 8 kilos

Although their trip took place in late December, temperatures fluctuated around -10°C during the Antarctic summer and it wasn’t easy to hike and sleep in a tent. The five meteorites recovered by the team – Media Inaf continues – are being analyzed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Meanwhile, sediments that could potentially contain tiny micrometeorites are being shared by researchers to study at their institutions. Valdés says she’s excited to see what meteorite analyzes will reveal, because “studying meteorites helps us better understand our place in the universe. The larger the sample of meteorites we have, the better we can understand our solar system and the better we can understand ourselves”.