[meteorite-list] New Martian Meteorite Found In Antarctica (MIL 03346)

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Jul 20 13:04:32 2004
Message-ID: <200407201608.JAA04485_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington July 20, 2004
(Phone: 202/358-1727)

Leslie Fink
National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.
(Phone: 703/292-5395)

Paul Taylor
Smithsonian Institution, Washington
(Phone: 202/357-2627)

Jeffrey Bendix
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
(Phone: 216/368-6070)

RELEASE: 04-232


     While rovers and orbiting spacecraft scour Mars searching
for clues to its past, researchers have uncovered another piece
of the red planet in the most inhospitable place on Earth --

The new specimen was found by a field party from the U.S.
Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET) on Dec. 15,
2003, on an ice field in the Miller Range of the Transantarctic
Mountains, roughly 750 km (466 miles) from the South Pole. This
715.2-gram (1.6-pound) black rock, officially designated MIL
03346, was one of 1358 meteorites collected by ANSMET during
the 2003-2004 austral summer.

Discovery of this meteorite occurred during the second full
field season of a cooperative effort funded by NASA and
supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance
recovery of rare meteorite types in Antarctica, in the hopes
new martian samples would be found.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of
Natural History involved in classification of Antarctic finds
said the mineralogy, texture and the oxidized nature of the
rock are unmistakably martian. The new specimen is the seventh
recognized member of a group of martian meteorites called the
nakhlites, named after the first known specimen that fell in
Nakhla, Egypt, in 1911.

Like the other martian meteorites, MIL 03346 is a piece of the
red planet that can be studied in detail in the laboratory,
providing a critical "reality check" for use in interpreting
the wealth of images and data being returned by the spacecraft
currently exploring Mars. Following the existing protocols of
the U.S. Antarctic meteorite program, scientists from around
the world will be invited to request samples of the new
specimen for their own detailed research.

Nakhlites are significant among the known martian meteorites
for several reasons. Thought to have originated within thick
lava flows that crystallized on Mars approximately 1.3 billion
years ago, and sent to Earth by a meteorite impact about 11
million years ago, the nakhlites are among the older known
martian meteorites. As a result they bear witness to
significant segments of the volcanic and environmental history
of Mars.

The U.S. Antarctic Meteorite program is a cooperative effort
jointly supported by NSF, NASA and the Smithsonian Institution.
Antarctic field work is supported by grants from NASA and NSF
to Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; initial
examination and curation of recovered Antarctic meteorites is
supported by NASA at the astromaterials curation facilities at
Johnson Space Center in Houston; and initial characterization
and long-term curation of Antarctic meteorite samples is
supported by NASA and the Smithsonian Institution at the
National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

Details concerning initial characterization of the specimen and
sample availability are available through a special edition of
the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, to be immediately released
on the Web at:


The edition also will be mailed to researchers worldwide.

Received on Tue 20 Jul 2004 12:08:23 PM PDT

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb