Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




DEEP IMPACT
Meteorite triggered scientific gold rush
by Staff Writers
Davis CA (SPX) Dec 21, 2012


Geology professor Qing-zhu Yin holds a fragment of the meteorite that exploded over the Sierra foothills this past spring. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo).

A meteorite that exploded as a fireball over California's Sierra foothills this past spring was among the fastest, rarest meteorites known to have hit the Earth, and it traveled a highly eccentric orbital route to get here.

An international team of scientists presents these and other findings in a study published Friday, Dec. 21, in the journal Science. The 70-member team included nine researchers from UC Davis, along with scientists from the SETI Institute, NASA and other institutions.

The researchers found that the meteorite that fell over Northern California on April 22 was the rarest type known to have hit the Earth - a carbonaceous chondrite. It is composed of cosmic dust and presolar materials that helped form the planets of the solar system.

The scientists learned that the meteorite formed about 4.5 billion years ago. It was knocked off its parent body, which may have been an asteroid or a Jupiter-family comet, roughly 50,000 years ago. That began its journey to Sutter's Mill, the gold discovery site that sparked the California Gold Rush.

As it flew toward Earth, it traveled an eccentric course through the solar system, flying from an orbit close to Jupiter toward the sun, passing by Mercury and Venus, and then flying out to hit Earth.

The high-speed, minivan-sized meteorite entered the atmosphere at about 64,000 miles per hour. The study said it was the fastest, "most energetic" reported meteorite that's fallen since 2008, when an asteroid fell over Sudan.

"If this were a much bigger object, it could have been a disaster," said co-author and UC Davis geology professor Qing-zhu Yin. "This is a happy story in this case. "

Before entering Earth's atmosphere, the meteorite is estimated to have weighed roughly 100,000 pounds. Most of that mass burned away when the meteorite exploded. Scientists and private collectors have recovered about 2 pounds remaining.

UC Davis is 60 miles west of the El Dorado county towns of Coloma and Lotus, where pieces of the meteorite were found on residents' driveways and in local forests and parks.

When the meteorite fell, Yin, whose lab contains some of the country's most specialized equipment to measure the age and composition of meteorites, searched for and collected pieces of the fallen meteorite with students and volunteers.

He also led a 35-member subgroup of international researchers to study and share information about the meteorite's mineralogy, internal textures, chemical and isotopic compositions and magnetic properties.

Meteorites like Sutter's Mill are thought to have delivered oceans of water to the Earth early in its history. Using neutron-computed tomography, UC Davis researchers helped identify where hydrogen, and therefore water-rich fragments, resides in the meteorite without breaking it open.

For the first time, the Doppler weather radar network helped track the falling carbonaceous chondrite meteorite pieces, aiding scientists in the quick recovery of them, the study reports. Yin expects that the weather radar data in the public domain could greatly enhance and benefit future meteorite recoveries on land.

"For me, the fun of this scientific gold rush is really just beginning," said Yin.

"This first report based on the initial findings provides a platform to propel us into more detailed research. Scientists are still finding new and exciting things in Murchison, a similar type of meteorite to Sutter's Mill, which fell in Victoria, Australia, in 1969, the same year Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned the first lunar samples to the Earth. We will learn a lot more with Sutter's Mill."

.


Related Links
UC Davis
Asteroid and Comet Impact Danger To Earth - News and Science






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





DEEP IMPACT
Meteor shower dazzles in night sky
Washington (UPI) Dec 14, 2012
Clear skies and lack of moonlight created perfect viewing conditions for a meteor shower some observers in the U.S. Northeast called the best they'd ever seen. The annual Geminid meteor shower provided a celestial spectacle Thursday night through early Friday morning, The Washington Post reported. Tweets by observers in the Washington area spoke of an "amazing" sight. "Jus ... read more


DEEP IMPACT
GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA probes crash into the moon

No plans of sending an Indian on moon

Rocket Burn Sets Stage for Dynamic Moon Duos' Lunar Impact

DEEP IMPACT
Clays on Mars: More Plentiful Than Expected

Opportunity For Some Shoulder Workout At Copper Cliff

Enabling ChemCam to Measure Key Isotopic Ratios on Mars and Other Planets

Curiosity Rover Explores 'Yellowknife Bay'

DEEP IMPACT
NASA Puts Orion Backup Parachutes to the Test

White House to honor scientists, inventors

TDRS-K Arrives at Kennedy for Launch Processing

Sierra Nevada Corporation Selected by NASA to Receive Human Spaceflight Certification Products Contract

DEEP IMPACT
Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

DEEP IMPACT
Expedition 34 Spends Christmas in Space

Three astronauts blast off for ISS in Russian craft

Soyuz rocket brings trio to space station

ISS Orbit Raised Ahead of Crew Arrival

DEEP IMPACT
Ariane 5 ECA orbits Skynet 5D and Mexsat Bicentenario satellites

Payload integration complete for final 2012 Ariane 5 mission

Arctic town eyes future as Europe's gateway to space

ISRO planning 10 space missions in 2013

DEEP IMPACT
Closest sun-like star may have planets

Nearby star is good candidate for Earth-like planets

Venus transit and lunar mirror could help astronomers find worlds around other stars

Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

DEEP IMPACT
Amazon outage disrupts Netflix service

Acer said to be readying $99 tablet

Toy companies 'terrified' of tablets

Rumors tip lighter, thinner Apple iPad




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement