In late 2019, ESA astronaut and geophysicist Alexander Gerst travelled to one of the harshest environments on Earth to learn more about our solar system, and to gather operational knowledge for missions to planetary surfaces such as the Moon. Travel with him to Antarctica and discover the many secrets held by meteorites in this documentary from the ice.
Since its inception in 1976, the US-led Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) has recovered more than 22,000 specimens. These are rocks that fell from space, originating from several sources in our solar system, including the Moon and Mars. After each field season the newly recovered specimens are shipped (still frozen and sterile) to the Antarctic Meteorite laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. There they are thawed, dried, carefully examined, and shipped to planetary scientists world-wide. These rock fragments enable scientists to look beyond our planet, and Earth’s orbit, into the depths of space.
As a member of the 2019-2020 crew, Alexander gained and shared knowledge with his team mates and followed in the footsteps of great Antarctic explorers before him, spending weeks in a remote field camp, only a few hundred kilometres from the South Pole. The team recovered 346 meteorites during this season. His mission also shared many similarities with what astronauts will encounter when flying to the Lunar South Pole in the not-so-distant future – making it another valuable step in preparing for what might lie ahead.
Find out more about ANSMET over on the blog https://caslabs.case.edu/ansmet/category/19-20/
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