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RE: Antarctic Search for Meteorites
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Hunt for Antarctica's 'missing meteorites'

The go-ahead has been given for the first British expedition to collect meteorites in Antarctica.
Most of the space rocks now in collections worldwide have been picked up on the continent.
The region's great expanse of ice makes searching for the blackened remains of objects that have fallen from the sky a particularly productive exercise.
But the UK venture will target a strangely underrepresented class of meteorites - those made of iron.

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Antarctic meteorite storage facility
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Inside the Meteorite Clean Room at the Smithsonian

Don your clean room clothing and take a glimpse into the Smithsonian's new Antarctic meteorite storage facility in Suitland, Md., where all of the Antarctic meteorites in the national collection are kept under tight security and tight airlocks.



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Scientists collect hundreds of space rocks in Antarctica

Antarctica doesn't just look like another planet; it's actually covered in the remnants of far-away worlds, comets, and asteroids. Every year since 1976, members of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program have scoured the frozen wastes at the bottom of our world for interstellar debris, and have just wrapped up their latest month-long expedition.
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A new home for meteorites discovered in Antarctica



A team of scientists has reached Antarctica as the annual hunt for meteorites gets underway. Nick-named the poor man's space programme, the US ANSMET project is backed by NASA and is now in its 35th year.
Although all parts of the earth are bombarded by meteorites, most end up in the South Pole where the climate helps preserve them offering scientists a continuing and relative cheap supply of space rocks.
This year they'll be taken to a new facility at the Smithsonian Institution in Maryland where they can be studied by geologists from all over the world. Jane O'Brien reports.



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US ANSMET project
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A new home for meteorites discovered in Antarctica

A team of scientists has reached Antarctica as the annual hunt for meteorites gets underway. Nick-named the poor man's space programme, the US ANSMET project is backed by NASA and is now in its 35th year.
Although all parts of the earth are bombarded by meteorites, most end up in the South Pole where the climate helps preserve them offering scientists a continuing and relative cheap supply of space rocks.
This year they'll be taken to a new facility at the Smithsonian Institution in Maryland where they can be studied by geologists from all over the world.

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RE: Antarctic Search for Meteorites
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The ANSMET newbies (Anne, Jesper, Christian, Jake and Katie) managed to find a bit of down time to get a tour of the interior of Robert Scott's Discovery Hut (Anne mentioned this hut in her blog yesterday and there is lots of information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Hut if you are interested in finding out more).
The hut, and its contents have been preserved as a historical landmark. Going into the hut is a really evocative experience - there is a 'unique' smell that I can only assume is emanating from the pile of mummified seal carcasses on the hut floor, which must have formed an important food/fuel stash at one time.

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Gathering space rocks

The geologist who conceived it called it the poor man's space program. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., fumed that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars. Meteorite hunter Ralph Harvey simply calls it work.
For the 35th year, the United States is mounting its annual campaign to gather space rocks from the wind-hammered ice fields of Antarctica.

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For the 35th year, the United States is mounting its annual campaign to gather space rocks from the wind-hammered icefields of Antarctica.
Getting to that sheet is a feat of logistical largesse. The eight-person expedition requires 20,000 pounds of gear, hauled first to McMurdo. From there, three giant C-130 transport planes plop the tents, food, water, fuel, snowmobiles, generators and spare parts on the ice halfway to the final destination. From there, many flights of a smaller Otter plane shuttle the expedition to its camp site, which this year is near the Miller Range along the Transantarctic Mountains.

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ANSMET expedition
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1,202 More Antarctic Meteorites Bound for Study
This report celebrates the return of the ANSMET expedition team from Antarctica. ANSMET, Antarctic Search for Meteorites, is a U.S.-funded cooperative effort among the National Science Foundation (NSF-Office of Polar Programs), NASA, and the Smithsonian Institution. NSF provides support for field research and collection. NASA and the Smithsonian Institution share the responsibilities of classifying, storing, and distributing Antarctic meteorites to researchers around the globe. All three agencies sponsor research on these valuable specimens.
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CR2 Grave Nunataks (GRA) 95229 meteorite
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Title: Abundant ammonia in primitive asteroids and the case for a possible exobiology
Authors: Sandra Pizzarello, Lynda B. Williams, Jennifer Lehman, Gregory P. Holland, and Jeffery L. Yarger

Carbonaceous chondrites are asteroidal meteorites that contain abundant organic materials. Given that meteorites and comets have reached the Earth since it formed, it has been proposed that the exogenous influx from these bodies provided the organic inventories necessary for the emergence of life. The carbonaceous meteorites of the Renazzo-type family (CR) have recently revealed a composition that is particularly enriched in small soluble organic molecules, such as the amino acids glycine and alanine, which could support this possibility. We have now analysed the insoluble and the largest organic component of the CR2 Grave Nunataks (GRA) 95229 meteorite and found it to be of more primitive composition than in other meteorites and to release abundant free ammonia upon hydrothermal treatment. The findings appear to trace CR2 meteorites origin to cosmochemical regimes where ammonia was pervasive, and we speculate that their delivery to the early Earth could have fostered prebiotic molecular evolution.

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