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Meteorites Help Answer Questions About Solar System Evolution

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A team of eight scientists including our own Astromaterials Curation Chief Cindy Evans spent two-months in the frozen landscape of Antarctica as part of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET), a 40-year program that has helped reveal information about asteroids, other bodies of our solar system and the red planet which will assist us on our Journey to Mars.

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The team recovered nearly 570 new meteorite samples from the Miller Range of the Trans-Antarctic Mountains during the expedition.

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After a several-month journey from Antarctica, these samples arrived at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on April 14 to become part of the U.S. Antarctic meteorite collection housed at Johnson and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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Samples recovered from recent seasons include rare and scientifically valuable pieces of Mars and Moon, as well as rocks formed very early during the formation and evolution of the solar system that hold clues to the origin of volatiles, planets and the organic compounds essential to life.

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Meteorites are currently the only way to acquire samples from Mars as well as new samples of the moon that are different from – and originated far from – the Apollo landing sites, as well as a variety of asteroid bodies.

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Samples from this collection (representing nearly 40 individual collection seasons) are available to researchers worldwide, and hundreds are distributed every year by the Astromaterials Curation Office.

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The meteorites collected give us important clues about the early solar system, but even the thousands of meteorites recovered over the years represent a tiny part of the larger puzzle, including a find in the 1990s that produced evidence that sparked a vigorous debate about whether life could have existed on Mars more than 3.6 billion years ago.

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As engineers and scientists around the country work hard to develop the technologies astronauts will use to one day live and work on Mars, and safely return home from the next giant leap for humanity, the meteorites provide critical data that enable engineers to build the right technologies.

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Source: You’ll find lots of information about the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also we have facts about the space station, ISS, SpaceX launch, space program, and outerspace. NASA

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Meteorites Help Answer Questions About Solar System Evolution

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