Title Antarctic meteorites; exploring the solar system for the ice
Author McCoy, T.J.; Welzenbach, L.C.; Corrigan, C.M.
Author Affil McCoy, T.J., National Museum of Natural History, Department of Mineral Sciences, Washington, DC
Source p.387-394, ; Smithsonian at the poles, Washington, DC, May 3-4, 2007, edited by I. Krupnik, M.A. Lang and S.E. Miller. Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington, DC, United States. ISBN: 978-0-9788460-1-50-9788460-1- X
Publication Date 2009
Notes In English. 15 refs. CRREL Acc. No: 63004416
Index Terms ice; Antarctica; asteroids; collecting; collections; curation; International Polar Year 2007-08; IPY 2007-08 Education, Outreach and Communication Publications; meteorites
Abstract The collection of meteorites from the Antarctic plateau has changed from a scientific curiosity to a major source of extraterrestrial material. Following initial meteorite recoveries in 1976, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Smithsonian Institution formed the U.S. Antarctic Meteorite program for the collection, curation, classification, and distribution of Antarctic meteorites, which was formalized in 1981. The Smithsonian provides classification and serves as the long-term curatorial repository, resulting in explosive growth of the Smithsonian meteorite collection. After 30 field seasons, more than 80% of the Smithsonian collection now originates from Antarctica. In addition to curation and classification, Smithsonian staff provide administrative leadership to the program, serve on field expeditions, and provide specimens for outreach and display. Given the relatively pristine state and ancient terrestrial ages of these meteorites, they provide perhaps our best sampling of the material in our solar system. Meteorites from the Moon were first recognized among the Antarctic meteorites in 1981, as was the first martian meteorite the next year. In 1996, debate erupted about evidence for past microbial life in an Antarctic martian meteorite, and that debate spurred the launch of two rovers to explore Mars. Among meteorites thought to have originated on asteroids, ingredients for ancient life may have survived much higher temperatures than previously envisioned during early planetary melting and differentiation. The ongoing collection of Antarctic meteorites will enrich the scientific community and Smithsonian Institution in specimens and knowledge about our solar system.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10088/6817
Publication Type monograph
Record ID 292152