Every austral summer, a group of volunteers heads off to a remote region of Antarctica to set up a field camp on the ice. For the next month, they search the ice and nearby glacial moraines for dark rocks that might be extraterrestrial in origin. Research scientist Christine Floss describes this year’s trip, which included a record-setting day.
Thomas J. Bernatowicz, professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, will deliver the McDonnell Distinguished Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in Room 105, Steinberg Hall, at Washington University in St. Louis. He will discuss what cosmic dust carried to Earth by meteorites has revealed about the creation of the elements by stars and supernovae. The St. Louis community is cordially invited to the lecture, which is sponsored by the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences.
Nearly 40 years after the Apollo astronauts first brought samples of the Moon to Earth for study, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are leading an effort to return to the Moon for samples that could unlock secrets of the early Solar System. Known as MoonRise, the proposed Moon mission is one of three finalists now bidding to become NASA’s next big space science venture, a $650 million mission that would launch before 2019.
Randy Korotev with a sample meteorite found in Siberia.The mysterious orb you find in your backyard that wasn’t there just the day before has to be a meteorite, right? Wrong. Overwhelmingly the chances are it’s a meteorwrong, says Randy Korotev, Ph.D., research associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. He says that 998 out of 1,000 meteorites are from asteroids, one out of 1,000 is from the Moon, and one out of 1,000 is from Mars. Of the hundreds of meteorites that have been found in the United States, none has been a lunar meteorite, and only one has been a Mars meteorite.
In the March 5 issue of Science, Ann Nguyen of Washington University in St. Louis and her advisor, Ernst K. Zinner, Ph.D., research professor of physics and of earth and planetary sciences, both in Arts & Sciences, describe nine specks of silicate stardust — presolar silicate grains — from one of the most primitive meteorites known. This is the first reported finding of silicate stardust from a meteorite.