Antarctic Meteorite Sample Collection and Curation
Collection and Naming of Meteorites
The US Antarctic meteorite program has recovered meteorites from many different geographic regions in the Transantarctic Mountains (see Map). All samples found are collected, rather than high grading of samples in the field, in order to minimize bias. Samples are collected in the field and assigned a temporary five digit number upon collection. When samples are returned to NASA–JSC they are assigned an official name and number according to the guidelines set by the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society; a three letter prefix abbreviates the geographic location (e.g., MIL = Miller Range), followed by either a 5 or 6 digit number. The first two numbers are from the year that the field season began (e.g. 2007–2008 samples have 07 as the first two digits. The remaining three or four digits are assigned to samples within that year's collection. In some years, more than 999 samples were collected in the same geographic location, so a fourth digit is used. In years where >999 samples are collected, but from different regions, it is usually possible to maintain five digit rather than six digit numbering, but there are exceptions to this. The official numbers are not assigned in the field, so they have no relation to the sequence in which the samples were collected, nor do they reflect size or importance.