The Antarctic Search for Meteorites and ALH84001

There's another way you can study "outer space," "out on the ice..." that's by collecting the meteorites that are easier to find in Antarctica than anywhere else on earth.

In 1984, NSF-supported researchers like this team found a meteorite in the Allan Hills.

Image courtesy of NASA

Back in the States "ALH84001" was analyzed by NASA scientists who, in 1996, stunned the world by announcing that they thought they saw tiny fossils of once living organisms. Early 2001 saw an update of this research.

Scientists used high-power electron microscopes to image a special kind of crystal. Here on Earth, microbes use similar crystals as tiny compasses to orient themselves. The NASA researchers say they know no natural process that could create such resemblances in shape. They believe it's another argument that they did indeed find evidence of past life in ALH84001.

From the beginning of the universe, to the search for life beyond earth, space science in Antarctica is full of significant discoveries.

Image courtesy of Kathy Thomas-Keptra,


Beginning November 24, 2001 you will be able to follow researchers on a meteorite recovery expedition.
 • The Search for Antarctic Meteorites
Background information on NSF's project to search for meteorites in Antarctica
 • The Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET)
Information on the search for meteorites in Antarctica.
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