Scientists from University of Manchester are preparing for the first ever UK-led meteorite hunting expedition to Antarctica, where they will seek out the ‘lost’ meteorites of the icy continent, which could provide clues to planetary creation. British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is providing the operational and logistical support.
Meteorites provide invaluable information about the Solar System’s formation. In particular, iron meteorites, which are formed from the cores of planetesimals (small planets that were later destroyed by further planetary impacts), provide researchers with knowledge of how planets are created. The most fruitful regions on Earth for collecting meteorites are in Antarctica, where dark-coloured non-metallic meteorites show up clearly against the white background of the ice. However, iron-based meteorites are significantly under-represented from such collection missions, as compared with meteorite finds over the rest of the globe.
Professor David Vaughan OBE, Director of Science at British Antarctic Survey, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this research project to hunt for the lost meteorites of Antarctica. The continent constantly reveals so many secrets about our Earth such as our past climate from ice and sediment cores so it’s great to work with UK researchers to help them solve another puzzle about Earth’s, and our Solar System’s, formation.”