A meteorite crashed into Michigan contains’clean’ organic compounds

A meteorite crashed into Michigan contains'clean' organic compounds

The Hamburg meteorite recovered less than two days after it fell on a frozen lake in Michigan.

The Hamburg meteorite recovered less than two days after it fell on a frozen lake in Michigan.
video: Field Museum

Rapid recovery and analysis A meteorite that fell on a frozen lake in Michigan two years ago Pivotal role This rock was played It is in delivering the basic building blocks for life to Earth.

As the meteorite falls Our planet was able to see bright fireballs in parts of the American Midwest and parts of Ontario at speeds of 36,000 miles per hour on January 16, 2018. Hundreds of eyewitnesses saw light shows in incidents captured by multiple security cameras.

And with it The race began to recover the meteorite as quickly as possible. The more time you spend on the surface and the more likely you are to be exposed to water The meteorite is contaminated, preventing scientists from studying the rocks that exist in space. The large phase is an uncontaminated primitive alien organic compound, i. Molecules formed within the rock’s parent asteroid.

Philipp Heck, curator of the Chicago Field Museum and lead author of a new paper describing meteorites, explained in an email. “As soon as you get water, the metal starts to rust and minerals like olivine change.” “Water also usually brings pollutants through the many cracks across the meteorite. The crack formed when the meteorite was released from the parent asteroid during a previous crash event,” he added.

Using NASA’s weather radar, meteorite hunters were able to track the meteorite’s speed and trajectory to pinpoint the location of the crashed object. Within 48 hours A personal meteorite hunter named Robert Ward 0.8-Oz (22-Grams) thousandK of Frozen meteorite Strawberry Lake near Hamburg, Michigan. Ward and Private collector Terry Boudreaux It was decided to quickly donate and deliver a piece called the Hamburg Meteorite to the Field Museum in Chicago.

Heck, who is also an associate professor at the University of Chicago, said, “This research is a beautiful example of how citizen scientists like Boudreaux and Ward can work with scientific institutions to make meaningful contributions to science. “Hamburg is one of the few meteorites that have been rapidly recovered from the frozen surface and delivered to scientific institutions, and this is why this meteorite is notable.”

Personal meteorite hunter Robert Ward pointed out his discovery at Strawberry Lake.

Personal meteorite hunter Robert Ward pointed out his discovery at Strawberry Lake.
video: Robert Ward

According to a new paper published today in Meteoritics & Planetary Science, several other small pieces belonging to the same meteorite were found on the same day, but an additional 13 pieces were found within two weeks of the fall.

Now owning the rock, Heck went on to study with University of Chicago graduate student Jennika Greer.. them Various methods were used, including meteorological radar, microscopy, spectroscopy, various types of mass spectrometry, magnetometry, and CT scanning.

The Hamburg meteorite has now been classified as a relatively rare H4 chondrite because only 4% of all meteorites falling on Earth belong to this group. The H4 condrite is interesting because it was blasted with heat while being emitted. Their parent asteroid. That said, some of the original components, such as chondrules (named after these rocks), are “still preserved and visible,” Heck added, adding that chondrules are solidified droplets of molten rock.

The rapid search for meteorites paid off because the team was able to analyze a variety of uncontaminated organic compounds. Meteorites like this can help explain how these compounds arrived on Earth in primitive times. Importantly, this compound is neither a form of extraterrestrial life nor a biomarker, but it constitutes a few basic components that could have caused life to appear 3 billion years ago.

2,600 total organic compound From the Hamburg meteorite.

“This compound formed from the parent asteroid shortly after it was formed. “When it was still hot due to the decay and attachment of radioactive elements that were still present in the early solar system,” explains Heck. “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. .”

Because The Hamburg meteorite recovered rapidly Experienced Minimal pollution, but HeckContaminated samples are samples collected directly from an asteroid. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 probe.

“It would be interesting to compare the meteorite to the mission return sample,” said Heck.

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