Antarctic meteorite hunters

For more than 35 years, scientists from the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program have been scouring glacial landscapes in search of meteorites. Since 1976, teams of physicists, meteorite specialists, and mountaineers have recovered thousands of untouched specimens from meteoroids, the moon and even Mars. Despite subzero temperatures and razor-sharp winds, scientists are lining up for the chance to experience the ultimate hunt for alien objects in the alien environment.

ANSMET teams either conduct systematic searches of a region or work as a scout teams making preliminary investigations of new sites that might be worth further exploration. Once discovered, the meteorites are carefully cataloged in the field and sent to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where they are distributed to scientists for further research. What secrets will new specimens – locked away in the ice and yet to be discovered – hold about our solar system and the universe? Read the story online and find out at http://bit.ly/UtXc9R.

Read this story and more in the December issue of EARTH Magazine, available online now. Learn how mummification emerged from environmental change; discover the explosive combination of red giants and white dwarfs; and see what states are paying to dispose of low-level radioactive waste all in this month’s issue of EARTH.

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