Wednesday 15 February 2017

Russian scientists find MASSIVE amounts of extraterrestrial material during expedition to Iranian desert

A scientist who found fame recovering a meteorite that crashed into Russia in 2013 with spectacular results has struck lucky once again.

Viktor Grokhovsky led an expedition to the Lut desert in Iran and has now returned with a huge haul of extraterrestrial material.

The arid conditions and unique landscape of the desert helped to preserve the unique meteorite matter, which is believed to originate from the birth of our solar system around 4.5 billion years ago.

The group of four geologists from Ural Federal University set out for the Lut desert, or Dasht-e-Lut, in search of evidence of meteorites - similar to the one that crashed to earth in an impressive fireball over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk in 2013.

The team, who all work for the Extra Terra Consortium laboratory, found 13 kilograms of meteorite-like material, with around 80 per cent of the samples recovered believed to be of extraterrestrial origins.

It is thought that the fragments may have been part of a meteor shower, as at least 10 of the 70 samples collected belong to the same type of meteorite.

The meteorite matter is believed to originate from the birth of our solar system, around 4.5 billion years ago, but further testing is required to confirm this.

Professor Grokhosvky's team will be aided by colleagues from the University of Kerman in Eastern Iran, one of two regions spanned by the Lut desert.

Half of the fragments found will remain in Iran, with the other half already back at the test lab in Russia.

Viktor Grokhovsky is a member of the Committee on Meteorites at the Russian Academy of Sciences, a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation.

Speaking to Sputnik News, Mr Grokhosvky said: 'The team managed to collect a sufficient number of extraterrestrial materials, with the support of their Iranian colleagues from the University of Kerman.'

'During the field work, about 13 kilograms of the samples, which is considered to be meteorite, were found.'

'Half of the found fragments have remained with our Iranian colleagues; the other half has arrived at our test lab.'

He added: 'For now the samples have been measured and entered into the catalogue.'

'In order to determine the age of the found fragments, the scientist should consider when a fragment was formed in space, when it split from its parent body and how much time has it spent on Earth.'

'Based on the isotopes it will be possible to talk about cosmogonist age, that is, how long the outer body of the meteorite was in the form of an asteroid.'

Mr Grokhosvky previously hit headlines in 2013, when he led an expedition to recover fragments of the meteor which exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains.

His team found 53 fragments of the meteor, which they retrieved from the ice-covered Chebarkul Lake.


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