A meteorite crashed into MI contains'clean' organic compounds

James Marshall
October 28, 2020

"This study is a lovely example of how citizen scientists such as Boudreaux and Ward can make meaningful contributions to science in collaboration with scientific institutions", said Heck, who's also an associate professor at the University of Chicago.

Using NASA's weather radar, meteorite hunters tracked the velocity and trajectory of the meteorite, allowing them to pinpoint the likely location of the fallen object. That means we can find out very quickly. Its chemical composition remained largely unalteredeven after landing on Earth's surface.

Elements native to Earth can change the chemical makeup of a meteor, but because it was collected so quickly, within two days, it maintained its integrity.

The tiny piece of meteorite pictured above was found by Robert Ward, sitting on the frozen surface of Strawberry Lake, which is near Hamburg, Michigan. Ward and private collector Terry Baudroux made separate donations to Field Mr. Muse Ziam for study.

A piece of the meteorite was found by the scientists on a frozen lake in MI. It was very old.

"It's hard to find a pebble-sized piece in an icy lake or a snow blanket", said Philip Heck, co-author and associate professor at the University of Chicago, who is also curator of meteorite, rock and mineral collections at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.

"Meteorites fell to our planet throughout Earth's history also before life formed and possibly delivered some of the building blocks for life onto Earth".

The study was published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science on Tuesday.

Jennika Greer, an education scholar and doctoral student, said: "When meteorology arrived at the campus, I spent the whole weekend analyzing it because I was so excited to know it was an ocean". He turned over it to the Chicago Field Museum.

"With every meteorite that falls, there is a chance that something completely new and completely unexpected happens".

And with it The race began to recover the meteorite as quickly as possible.

Here's what the scientists, based at over 24 different institutions, have learned since 2018.

Scientists believe that the Hamburg Alka was pulled out of the storm by its parents about 12 million years ago, traveling through space until it came to Earth. All through its journey, it was exposed to cosmic rays. "We found nothing else had happened since [parent asteroid] It formed 4.5 billion years ago, "Heck said".

The 2,600 different organic compounds that cover Hamburg meteorology have been formed in it.Parent asteroids.

It's what is known as an H4 chondrite, a type of meteorite that isn't known to be rich in organics.

"This meteorite shows a high diversity of organics, in that if somebody was interested in studying organics, this is not normally the type of meteorite that they would ask to look at". "But because there is so much excitement around it, everyone wants to put their own techniques into it, so we have unusually comprehensive data for a single satellite".

Researchers identified the meteorite as an H4 chondrite, a rarity. Including the NASA Osiris Rex spacecraft Which is set to return to Earth in 2023.

The rapid recovery and analysis of a meteorite that fell onto a frozen lake in MI two years ago is illuminating the pivotal role these rocks played in delivering the basic building blocks for life to Earth. "There are meteorites like carbonaceous chondrites that are a thousand times more organic, but the fact that these ordinary chondrites were rich in organic matter supports the hypothesis that the meteorites played an important role in the transfer of organic compounds to the early Earth".

The organic matter in the meteorite was originally once heated to up to 650 degrees while it was still part of its parent asteroid. This actually reduces the diversity of meteorological organic compounds from one million to two thousand.

"I have personally seen how many organic compounds are still present in this metamorphosis despite its thermal transformation", Heck said.

Researchers have found hydrocarbons, as well as compounds containing sulfur and nitrogen.

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