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Posts Tagged ‘meteorite’

Astronomers Spot Record-Breaking Lunar Impact

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

A meteorite with the mass of a small car crashed into the Moon last September, according to Spanish astronomers. The impact, the biggest seen to date, produced a bright flash and would have been easy to spot from the Earth. The scientists publish their description of the event in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Moon lacks the atmosphere that prevents small rocks from space from reaching the surface of the Earth. The result is very visible – vast numbers of craters large and small cover the whole of our nearest neighbour and record 4.5 billion years of collisions that span the history of the Solar system.

Although there is almost no chance of a very large object striking the Moon or planets, collisions with smaller objects are very common even today. The odds of seeing one of these by chance are pretty poor, so scientists have set up networks of telescopes that can detect them automatically.

Link To Full Story And Video

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Early Solar System Garnet-Like Mineral Named For Livermore Cosmochemist

August 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Photos by Julie Korhummel/LLNL

Photo by Julie Korhummel/LLNL

A recently discovered mineral appears to be clear but may have a tinge of light blue. No matter its color, you won’t be able to make earrings from it.

For one, you can’t see the material with the naked eye. Hutcheonite, recently named after Lawrence Livermore meteorite researcher Ian Hutcheon, can be seen only with high powered scanning electron microscopes.

Known also by its chemical makeup, Ca3Ti2SiAl2O12, hutcheonite was discovered in a refractory inclusion in the Allende meteorite by Sasha Krot (University of Hawaii) and Chi Ma (Caltech) and named in honor of Hutcheon, who has made numerous contributions to the study of meteorites and what they can tell us about the evolution of the early solar system.

Full Story: https://www.llnl.gov/news/newsreleases/2013/Aug/NR-13-08-02.html#.Ugp3dH4o5hE

Researchers Identify Water Rich Meteorite Linked To Mars Crust

January 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Designated Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, and nicknamed "Black Beauty". Credit: NASA

Designated Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, and nicknamed “Black Beauty”. Credit: NASA

NASA-funded researchers analyzing a small meteorite that may be the first discovered from the Martian surface or crust have found it contains 10 times more water than other Martian meteorites from unknown origins.

This new class of meteorite was found in 2011 in the Sahara Desert. Designated Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, and nicknamed “Black Beauty,” it weighs approximately 11 ounces (320 grams). After more than a year of intensive study, a team of U.S. scientists determined the meteorite formed 2.1 billion years ago during the beginning of the most recent geologic period on Mars, known as the Amazonian.

“The age of NWA 7034 is important because it is significantly older than most other Martian meteorites,” said Mitch Schulte, program scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We now have insight into a piece of Mars’ history at a critical time in its evolution.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/mars20130103.html

NASA Researchers Strike Scientific Gold With Meteorite

January 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Scientists found treasure when they studied a meteorite that was recovered April 22, 2012 at Sutter’s Mill, the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Detection of the falling meteorites by Doppler weather radar allowed for rapid recovery so that scientists could study for the first time a primitive meteorite with little exposure to the elements, providing the most pristine look yet at the surface of primitive asteroids.

An international team of 70 researchers reported in today’s issue of “Science” that this meteorite was classified as a Carbonaceous-Mighei or CM-type carbonaceous chondrite and that they were able to identify for the first time the source region of these meteorites.

“The small three meter-sized asteroid that impacted over California’s Sierra Nevada came in at twice the speed of typical meteorite falls,” said lead author and meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif., and NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “Clocked at 64,000 miles per hour, it was the biggest impact over land since the impact of the four meter-sized asteroid 2008 TC3, four years ago over Sudan.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2012/12-93AR.html

How To Hunt A Space Rock

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Peter Willis and his team of researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., had a problem. Actually, more like they had a solution that needed a problem. Confused? Let’s let Peter give it a shot…

“My team and I came up with a new lab on a chip,” said Willis, a scientist at JPL’s Microdevices Lab. “It essentially miniaturizes an automated sample processing and analysis instrument that could be put aboard future spacecraft and sent to distant planets, moons and asteroids. One challenge we have is finding new and interesting samples to try our chip on.”

The team had already gone into the field in quest of unique samples. Among their previous expeditions, they had hunted down trilobite fossils at the lava field in Amboy, Calif., and gathered samples from a hydrothermal vent near Yosemite National Park. But Willis and crew knew that when testing something destined for another world, it is good to try it on something not of this world. What they needed was a sign from above. On the evening of Aug. 21, 2012, a large fireball that turned night into day was reported over a mountain range halfway between Reno and Salt Lake City. By convention, the meteorite was named after the nearest town or prominent geographic feature.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-320

Meteorite Delivers Martian Secrets To U of A Researcher

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

A meteorite that landed in the Moroccan desert 14 months ago is providing more information about Mars, the planet where it originated.University of Alberta researcher Chris Herd helped in the study of the Tissint meteorite, in which traces of Mars’ unique atmosphere are trapped.

“Our team matched traces of gases found inside the Tissint meteorite with samples of Mars’ atmosphere collected in 1976 by Viking, NASA’s Mars lander mission,” said Herd.Herd explained that the meteorite started out 600 million years ago as a fairly typical volcanic rock on the surface of Mars, until it was launched off the planet by the impact of an asteroid.

“At the instant of that impact with Mars, a shock wave shot through the rock,” said Herd. “Cracks and fissures within the rock were sealed instantly by the heat, trapping components of Mars’ atmosphere inside, and forming black, glassy spots.”

Full Story: http://www.news.ualberta.ca/article.aspx?id=91FF057804334BFB8A54C71DDC27A6B3

Evidence Further Suggests Extraterrestrial Origin Of Quasicrystals

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Results from an expedition to far eastern Russia that set out to find the origin of naturally occurring quasicrystals have provided convincing evidence that they arrived on Earth from outer space.

Writing in IOP Publishing’s journal Reports on Progress in Physics, Paul J Steinhardt and Luca Bindi reveal that new, naturally occurring quasicrystal samples have been found in an environment that does not have the extreme terrestrial conditions needed to produce them, therefore strengthening the case that they were brought to Earth by a meteorite.

Furthermore, their findings reveal that the samples of quasicrystals were brought to the area during the last glacial period, suggesting the meteorite was most likely to have hit Earth around 15 000 years ago.

Full Story: http://www.iop.org/news/12/aug/page_56710.html