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Canadian scientist to help search for meteorites in Antarctica

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2005

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Dr. Gordon Osinski, scientist at the Canadian Space Agency's Planetary Exploration and Space Astronomy division, has been invited to spend two months searching for meteorites in the Transantarctic Mountains as part of the National Science Foundation and NASA-funded Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program.

Antarctica is the best place on Earth to find meteorites-fragments of rock from space that have fallen to Earth after passing through our atmosphere. Some meteorites consist of rock from other planets, like Mars, and some date back to the formation of the Solar System 4.55 billion years ago. These meteorites are special to a geologist because no rocks of this age are left on Earth.

The only samples of rock from Mars we currently have on Earth are from meteorite finds. In fact, Dr. Osinski was with the team that found a new Martian meteorite in the Miller Range of the Transantarctic Mountains in 2003 and is honoured to be invited to return to help look for more.

Another aspect of Dr. Osinski's research will be to determine how meteorites and other rock types are affected by the extremely cold and dry Antarctic climate.  By studying how rocks weather in this environment on Earth, he hopes to better understand images and data gathered during missions to Mars. As one of two foreign participants in a team of about 10 scientists, he draws upon experience gained in seven field expeditions to the Canadian High Arctic.

For more information, please visit http://geology.geol.cwru.edu/~ansmet/field/.

To book an interview with Dr. Osinski, please contact:

Media Relations
Canadian Space Agency
(450) 926-4370

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