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Antarctic Meteorites

Mars Meteorite

Antarctic meteorite ... an 8-Kilogram (17 lb) piece of Mars? Remains of dark fusion crust, created during high speed entry through Earth's atmosphere, are visible.

The curation and collection of Antarctic meteorites is a U.S. funded, cooperative effort among NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Smithsonian Institution.

The NSF, with decades of experience in exploring this harsh environment, provides support for field research and collection. 

NASA and the Smithsonian Institution, as experts in curation of lunar samples and geologic specimens, respectively, provide for the classification, storage and distribution of Antarctic meteorites.

All three agencies sponsor research on these valuable specimens. The meteorites are collected by NSF science teams operating out of the McMurdo or South Pole Stations. Since 1977, the meteorites were returned frozen to Johnson Space Center (JSC) for initial processing and characterization.

Lunar Basalt LAP 02205

LAP 02205, a Lunar basalt collected from La Paz icefield.

Meteorites of greater interest and undergoing detailed study are kept at JSC for distribution to the scientific community, but irons are sent directly to the Smithsonian Institution. Most equilibrated ordinary chondrites are sent to the Smithsonian Institution for long term storage.

JSC curators have sent 17,000 meteorite samples to more than 500 scientists worldwide. ANSMET collection efforts in the last 30 years have recovered over 16,000 meteorite samples.