Scientists say they’ve found a space rock forever in Antarctica — an extremely rare meteorite that contains some of the oldest materials in the solar system.
“When we saw this one sitting alone in the middle of the blue ice, we were all so excited,” said Chicago Field Museum researcher Maria Valdes said the Chicago Tribune.
The 17 pounder meteoritesdescribed as about “the size of a pumpkin,” was found on May 14 by an international team at the end of an 11-day expedition.
The extraordinary rock, which contains material from billions of years ago, is one of the largest meteorites ever found on the continent and likely came from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The Independent reported.
“To put the meteorite’s size in perspective, of the 45,000 meteorites recovered from Antarctica in the last century, only 100 are this size or larger,” said the Chicago Field Museum, which was part of the expedition.
According to The Tribune, explorers on snowmobiles spent the better part of two weeks combing ice fields in search of meteorites when they made the stunning find just as they were about to complete their exploration.
Valdes said they were initially reluctant to celebrate “because we knew that if we find a meteorite, that’s really the mother vein.” The last day, the last hour.”
The team was convinced they had indeed found a rare space rock when members discovered it was “the size of a bowling ball but twice the weight of a bowling ball,” Valdes told the newspaper.
The rock had what Valdes called “fusion crust” — a glassy outer layer that melted slightly upon entering the atmosphere. It was also worn out, a sign that it had been on Earth for many centuries.
The meteorite was sent to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Belgium for chemical analysis.
“All meteorites have something to say about the evolution of the Earth,” Valdes said. “Meteorites don’t necessarily matter with size, and even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly scientifically valuable.”
Most of the 45,000 meteorites found in Antarctica over the past century weighed just a few grams, according to The Independent.
The find came months after NASA succeeded destroyed a 530 foot wide asteroid in a test run to prepare for the possibility of a massive space rock hurling toward and threatening Earth, like the 6.2-mile-wide asteroid scientists believe it is deleted the dinosaur millions of years ago.
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