Antarctic Dispatches: Life as a Meteorite Hunter


Marianne under the Antarctica passenger terminal sign before departing Christchurch, New Zealand.

Since 1976, the US-led Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) has been recovering meteorite specimens from the Antarctic Ice sheet – just over 20,000 to date! Collected meteorites are shipped, still frozen, to the Antarctic Meteorite Curation labs at NASA Johnson Space Center.

ANSMET is supported by grants from the Office of Polar Programs of the U.S. National Science Foundation and by the Solar System Exploration Division of NASA. The Principal Investigator of the current grant is Dr. Ralph P. Harvey of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

More than 150 individuals have been members of ANSMET teams. Only a few Canadians have participated in the program including Dr. Gordon Osinski, Western University. This season, Marianne Mader, PhD Candidate, Western University, was selected and will be blogging on this site (scroll down) throughout the field season! More information about the program can be found here, and blogs from the entire research team are here.

Some the photos that Marianne took before heading to the ice can be found in the gallery.

Antarctic Field Dispatches News

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Patience is a virtue....
Our systematic meteorite hunting team is now at the Otway campsite, our final Antarctic home in the field and location of the ‘landing strip’ (i.e., flat snow surface) for the C-130 Hercules plane. It took us three attempts, but we finally managed to leave the Larkman campsite yesterday! (read full story)
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Happy New Year! ANSMET Reflections…
Happy New Year to all those at home! Yesterday, we enjoyed a New Year's Eve celebration by gathering in one tent and making pizzas in our camp stove! What a treat! Today, we went out searching the blue ice again on our snowmobiles and were rewarded with 12 meteorites – a great start to the New Year! (read full story)
Tue Jan 01, 2013
Blizzards and Sastrugi and Moraines - Oh My!
Happy Holidays to all those at home! We found some early presents today out on the ice – 9 meteorites! This was welcomed considering we weren't sure if yesterday's blizzard was on its way out when we started the day. (read full story)
Thu Dec 27, 2012
Let the hunt begin: Mount Bumstead Icefield, Antarctica
We arrived at our first camp spot along the Transantarctic Mountains, on Dec. 12. Our team includes two planetary science professors, two post-docs, 1 NASA scientist, 1 NASA astronaut, 1 extremely experienced mountaineer, and me, the sole Canadian and graduate student. So far the weather has been beautiful - blue skies, low winds (~5-6 knots) and a steady -20 deg Celsius. (read full story)
Fri Dec 21, 2012
CPSX Spotlight: PhD Candidate Marianne Mader
CPSX Spotlight: PhD Candidate Marianne Mader (read full story)
Tue Dec 11, 2012