Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Lunar Meteorite Found In Antarctica

Date:
September 15, 2006
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Although last year's inclement weather resulted in fewer Antarctic meteorite recoveries than usual, scientists have recently discovered that one of the specimens is a rare breed -- a type of lunar meteorite seen only once before.

shows the new meteorite specimen in the Antarctic Meteorite Processing Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The meteorite was broken open for initial characterization, revealing a pinkish-tan interior and a granular texture unusual in meteorites. The cube in the images is 1 cm on a side and is used to establish a consistent frame of reference for the geometry of the specimen; labeling the top, bottom, sides, etc.
Credit: Image courtesy of Case Western Reserve University

Although last year's inclement weather resulted in fewer Antarctic meteorite recoveries than usual, scientists have recently discovered that one of the specimens is a rare breed -- a type of lunar meteorite seen only once before.

The new specimen was found by a field party from the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET) headquartered at Case Western Reserve University. The meteorite was discovered on Dec. 11, 2005, on an icefield in the Miller Range of the Transantarctic Mountains, roughly 750 km from the South Pole. This 142.2 g black rock, slightly larger than a golfball and officially designated MIL 05035, was one of 238 meteorites collected by ANSMET during the 2005-2006 austral summer. Heavy snows limited search efforts during much of the remainder of the six-week field season, making this meteorite, discovered just 600 m from camp, a particularly welcome find.

Scientists involved in classification of Antarctic finds at NASA's Johnson Space Center and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History said the mineralogy and texture of the meteorite are unusual. The new specimen is a very coarse-grained gabbro, similar in bulk composition to the basaltic lavas that fill the lunar maria, but its very large crystals suggest slow cooling deep within the Moon's crust. In addition, the plagioclase feldspar has been completely converted to glass, or maskelynite, by extreme shock (presumably impact events). The new specimen most closely resembles another Antarctic meteorite, Asuka 881757, one of the oldest known lunar basalt samples.

Like the other lunar meteorites, MIL 05035 is a piece of the Moon that can be studied in detail in the laboratory, providing new specimens from a part of the lunar surface not sampled by the US Apollo program. Many researchers believe that Apollo visited some of the most unusual and geochemically anomalous regions of the Moon, and lunar meteorites, knocked off the surface of the Moon by random impacts, give us samples that are more representative of the Moon as a whole. The highly-shocked nature of MIL 05035 suggests an old age and may provide new constraints on the early intense bombardment of the Earth-Moon system, improving our understanding of the history of the Earth's nearest neighbor and aiding NASA's efforts toward a return to the Moon.

Following the existing protocols of the U.S. Antarctic meteorite program, scientists from around the world will be invited to request samples of the new specimen for their own detailed research. Details concerning initial characterization of the specimen and sample availability are available through the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, available on the Web at (http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/curator/antmet/amn/amn.htm) and mailed to researchers worldwide.

Discovery of this meteorite occurred during the fourth full field season of a cooperative effort by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to enhance recovery of rare meteorite types in Antarctica, in the hopes new martian samples would be found.

The US Antarctic Meteorite program is a cooperative effort jointly supported by NSF, NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. Antarctic field work is supported by grants from NSF and NASA to Case Western Reserve University; initial examination and curation of recovered Antarctic meteorites is supported by NASA at the Astromaterials Curation facilities at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas; and initial characterization and long term curation of Antarctic meteorite samples is supported by NASA and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "New Lunar Meteorite Found In Antarctica." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914181246.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2006, September 15). New Lunar Meteorite Found In Antarctica. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914181246.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "New Lunar Meteorite Found In Antarctica." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914181246.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) — The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) — Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) — Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins