Tag Archives: meteorite

34 Kilometer Neuland

Der Geologe Thomas Kenkmann hat zusammen mit einer Erdölfirma einen Meteoritenkrater in Saudi-Arabien entdeckt

Neuland in der Wüste: Der Freiburger Geologe Prof. Dr. Thomas Kenkmann und sein Kollege Dr. Michael Poelchau haben zusammen mit der Erdölexplorationsfirma „Saudi Aramco“ einen 34 Kilometer großen Meteoritenkrater entdeckt. Er befindet sich in der Nafud-Wüste Saudi-Arabiens und ist der 188. Meteoritenkrater, den Forscherinnen und Forscher bislang auf der Erde aufgespürt haben. Die Zusammenarbeit zwischen Kenkmann und der Erdölfirma kam spontan zustande: In einer Veröffentlichung im arabischen Raum berichtete das Unternehmen von einer merkwürdigen rundlichen Struktur, die im Untergrund Saudi-Arabiens verborgen sei. Der Freiburger Geologe stieß zufällig auf die Informationen und forderte Gesteinsproben an, um zu prüfen, ob es sich dabei möglicherweise um einen Impaktkrater handeln könne.


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From Mercury to Morocco, and onward to Yale: a meteorite’s tale

Talk about a precious stone — the largest piece of the only known meteorite from the planet Mercury has found its way to Yale, where it is now on display at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Known as NWA 7325, the fist-size, greenish space rock is a rarity among rarities:  there just aren’t many verified planetary meteorites. Scientists know of about 70 from Mars and, until now, none from any of the other planets in Earth’s solar system. There are about 180 known meteorites from the moon. NWA 7325 is the first believed to be from Mercury. (more…)

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Scientists Find Possible Solution to an Ancient Enigma

The widespread disappearance of stromatolites, the earliest visible manifestation of life on Earth, may have been driven by single-celled organisms called foraminifera.

The findings, by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI); Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of Connecticut; Harvard Medical School; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, were published online the week of May 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (more…)

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Exploding Star Missing From Formation of Solar System

A new study published by University of Chicago researchers challenges the notion that the force of an exploding star prompted the formation of the solar system.

In this study, published online last month in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, authors Haolan Tang and Nicolas Dauphas found the radioactive isotope iron 60 — the telltale sign of an exploding star—low in abundance and well mixed in solar system material. As cosmochemists, they look for remnants of stellar explosions in meteorites to help determine the conditions under which the solar system formed. (more…)

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Largest Meteorite Hunt in History Yields Treasure for UA

Thanks to the generosity of three professional meteorite hunters, the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory will own three samples of a rare kind of meteorite leftover from the earliest beginnings of the solar system.

To the untrained eye, the black, smooth-edged lump that is sitting under a glass cover looks similar to a piece of charcoal. But to scientists Dante Lauretta and Ed Beshore from the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, it is one of the most intriguing stones they have ever seen.

“This meteorite is the oldest rock you’ll ever find on Earth. In fact, it formed 50 to 60 million years before the Earth even existed,” said Lauretta, who is a professor of planetary science and principal investigator of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, which will send a spacecraft to return a sample from an asteroid in 2023. (more…)

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Organics Probably Formed Easily in Early Solar System

Complex organic compounds, including many important to life on Earth, were readily produced under conditions that likely prevailed in the primordial solar system. Scientists at the University of Chicago and NASA Ames Research Center came to this conclusion after linking computer simulations to laboratory experiments.

Fred Ciesla, assistant professor in geophysical sciences at UChicago, simulated the dynamics of the solar nebula, the cloud of gas and dust from which the sun and the planets formed. Although every dust particle within the nebula behaved differently, they all experienced the conditions needed for organics to form over a simulated million-year period. (more…)

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Titanium Paternity Test Fingers Earth as Moon’s Sole Parent

A new chemical analysis of lunar material collected by Apollo astronauts in the 1970s conflicts with the widely held theory that a giant collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object gave birth to the moon 4.5 billion years ago.

In the giant-collision scenario, computer simulations suggest that the moon had two parents: Earth and a hypothetical planetary body that scientists call “Theia.” But a comparative analysis of titanium from the moon, Earth and meteorites, published by Junjun Zhang, graduate student in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, and four co-authors indicates the moon’s material came from Earth alone. (more…)

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New Views Show Old NASA Mars Landers

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded a scene on Jan. 29, 2012, that includes the first color image from orbit showing the three-petal lander of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit mission. Spirit drove off that lander platform in January 2004 and spent most of its six-year working life in a range of hills about two miles to the east.

Another recent image from HiRISE, taken on Jan. 26, 2012, shows NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander and its surroundings on far-northern Mars after that spacecraft’s second Martian arctic winter.  Phoenix exceeded its planned mission life in 2008, ending its work as solar energy waned during approach of its first Mars winter. (more…)

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