1 November 2004 Meteorite collection and ice samples from the Pecora Escarpment, Antarctica
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Abstract
In January 2002 the Planetary Studies Foundation returned to Antarctica to conduct a systematic search for meteorites on the blue ice fields near the Pecora Escarpment. The Pecora Escarpment area was previously searched by two National Science Foundation (NSF) teams that collectively recovered 526 meteorites. The two primary goals of the PSF Antarctica 2002 expedition were to determine if a significant number of meteorites could be found in a previously searched area, and to collect ice core samples to determine the presence or absence of microbial life. Several days' fieldwork resulted in the recovery of 33 meteorites, which included one stony-iron, two achondrites, an enstatite chondrite, and the collection of numerous ice samples. One particularly intriguing question that needed to be answered concerned the possibility that microbial life present in the ice may contaminate the meteorites. Antarctica was once considered to be a pristine environment with little or no biological contamination. This concept was particularly significant to the study of carbonaceous chondrites in order to insure that the organic compounds present in the meteorite were truly extraterrestrial in origin and not a product of terrestrial contamination. The preliminary results of this study indicated that microbial life was present in every ice sample.
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Paul P. Sipiera, Birgit I. Sattler, "Meteorite collection and ice samples from the Pecora Escarpment, Antarctica", Proc. SPIE 5555, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII, (1 November 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.564553; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.564553
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