This in 2016, this photo provided by NASA shows the Getz Ice Shelf, starting in 2016, with Operation Icebridge in Antarctica – a file picture.
(Jeremy Harbeck/NASA via AP)
Scientists are in the wash from the remote Antarctic ice sheet, rare meteorites are chock full of iron, and in the keeping of the secrets of the history of our solar system, going back about 4.5 billion years old.
Over a six-week British expedition, the team hopes to have a maximum of five iron meteorites in the five-square-kilometer (15-square-mile) survey, there’s plenty of space for researchers to investigate the key chemical and physical clues to conditions in the early solar system.
The majority of the 500 or so meteorites with the surface of the Earth from space every year, and the rocks from the broken asteroid, according to NASA, usually ranging from the size of a pebble to the size of a fist.
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Only about 5 percent of all meteorites that fall to the Earth and is composed of an iron-nickel alloy known as meteoric iron, and it is thought that they will have to come from the cores of planetesimals — small planet-like objects in the early solar system, which is often crushed together into a larger planet.
“This is a group of rocks, have an intrinsic scientific interest, that is, they tell us how small bodies formed and evolved at the beginning of the solar system’s history — about 4.5 billion years ago,” said meteoriticist, Katherine Joy of the University of Manchester, which is one of the leaders of the Lost Meteorite in the Antarctic expedition.
On the ice
In theory, Antarctica is an amazing place to look for meteorites, Joy, told Science in an e-mail from Rothera Station, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) base on the Antarctic Peninsula.
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“Meteorites are well-preserved in the ice, and cannot be altered by the frequent rainfall, which in part, can infect them somewhere else,” she said. “It’s dark in color, they are easy to spot against the white ice surface.”
Meteorites are often concentrated by ice movements over a number of years, in the areas of the exposed areas of blue ice, known to meteorite stranding areas for that reason. “So, we can often collect many samples in a very small area,” she said.
But there is one problem: the Iron meteorites were found in Antarctica-is much less than normal (less than 1%of the time.
British scientists think they know why-the Iron-rich rocks, often warm up when entering the atmosphere, more than the rockies, rocks, allowing them to dig under the ice surface.
“We’ll have to test the hypothesis that these iron meteorites are from the surface of the ice, out of sight’, the University of Manchester, mathematical, Geoff Evatt, one of the leaders of the expedition, told live Science in an e-mail from the Halley Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf. “Hopefully, we can find the number this season, due to the use of a metal detector-driven approach.”
With the hunting of meteorites
A team of five people, including one of Joy and Evatt will be looking to go to iron rocks in the vicinity of the Shackleton mountains, to the south-east of the Weddell Sea, and about 465 miles (750 km) to the south of Halley Station to the nearest base.
Evatt said the team would take a turn with the help of two custom designed wide-range of metal detectors are towed by a snowmobile.
Each of the metal-detecting array of five detectors is approximately 40 inches (1 meter) in width, so that the team could look at a 32-meter-wide (10-m) stretch of ice-cream, if they have to travel, ” he said.
The area chosen for the survey is inside in the air-to-air support of the Halley Station, and that there are very few surface boulders, to slow down each and every drag.
Mathematical modeling of meteorite stranding zones, to be conducted by the University of Manchester, mathematician, Andrew Smedley, suggesting that the survey was able to have a lot of iron rocks just below the ice surface, ” he said.
Now they are ready for a great distance, ” she said.
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Originally published on Live Science.