Feeds

Belgian boffins find colossal meteorite

18kg rock is largest Antarctic meteorite find since 1988

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Belgian meteorite hunters scooting about Antarctica on skidoos have described what they say is the largest meteorite find on the frozen continent since 1988.

Geologist Vinciane Debaille of the Université Libre de Bruxelles told the International Polar Foundation that she and her colleagues on an international meteorite-hunting team searched the Nansen Ice Field at an altitude of 2,900m, 140km south of  Princess Elisabeth Antarctica.

As is customary for polar meteorite hunts, the ten-strong team boarded skidoos and adopted “a V-shape, with the field guide in front of the V. We let 20 to 50 m between each participant, depending of the visibility and the potential dangers on the field, such as crevasse zones. Once someone finds a meteorite, he/she warns the others by radio, and the closest one comes to help by taking GPS position or pictures of the meteorites. Then, everybody retakes his/her place in the V-shape.”

On 28 January this method yielded 425 meteorites totalling 75kgs, with the prize being the 18kg whopper that Debaille put into perspective with this quote on what a meteorite-hunter expects to find:

“Per year, around 1,000 meteorites weighing less than 100g are found, and about 100 less than 1kg. So 1Kg is already special, never mind 18KG.”

The rock is a type known as a “chondrite”, the most common type of meteorite and of interest to science because they are not part of a larger body.

The specimen's large size presents several problems, one of which was that its finders didn't have a receptacle in which to place it. Touching with human hands is a no-no, lest it be contaminated.

“There are people studying the biological markers and organic, and we don’t add some more from us humans. So we try not to touch them,” Debaille said. “It’s easy when they’re small, you have a zip bag and you scoop them up. But when you have this large specimen and you think ok, I have to put it in a bag without touching it, and it was quite a challenge. Luckily our Japanese colleagues were well equipped, with a big bag that was large enough!”

Debaille also says “The meteorite is currently undergoing a special thawing process in Japan – to ensure water doesn’t get inside the rock.”

Debaille says another of the expedition's finds comes from the Asteroid Vesta, a deduction she is confident of because “We can measure what’s going on space, the spectral signature of the asteroid Vesta is the same as meteorites we find at earth, using measurements of reflected light. What is reflected is depended on the element on the asteroid, so we know the chemical composition of the Asteroid.  When we have the meteorite we can see that it has the same chemical signature, so we know there’s a good chance it came from the same asteroid.”

Another find has a good chance of being a fragment of Mars.

The 18kg rock is destined to become a museum exhibit, once scientists have finished with it. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.