Researchers found a meteorite weighing 7.6 kilograms near the South Pole. It originally came from the asteroid belt of our solar system and waited tens of thousands of years for its discovery after its arrival on Earth, as announced by the Free University of Brussels (ULB).
“It’s extraordinary,” Belgian researcher Vinciane Debaille, who led the expedition, told RTBF.
The meteorites found usually weigh between ten and 50 grams. “It’s a really nice gift we found in the last hour of our last day of searching.” Debaille discovered the meteorite along with an international team on an expedition about 60 kilometers from the Princess Elisabeth polar research station in Antarctica.
With the help of satellite imagery and GPS coordinates, the researchers found numerous meteorites in the area. To do this, they sometimes had to camp in difficult conditions at ten degrees below zero and among snow dunes.
Hiking on million-year-old ice
“Antarctica is suitable for finding meteorites because the black stones are clearly visible in the white snow,” Swiss researcher Maria Schönbächler, who also participated in the expedition, told the Keystone-SDA news agency. Meteorites are repeatedly discovered in ice that is millions of years old due to glacier migration.
According to expedition leader Debaille, the stones can provide information about the origin of the solar system and planets, since they consist of dust grains that formed before the planets. The chemical composition of the stone from space is now being examined in a laboratory in Brussels.