(Watch the video below for a tour of Corrigan's archive of space rocks.)Corrigan has worked with so many meteorites that geologists even named a space rock after her. The rock is currently whizzing around the solar system. Maybe someday a chunk of it will land in Antarctica.Most meteorites got their start as stray chunks that broke off asteroids, Corrigan explains. That’s a zone of space rocks located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.But it’s the other 15 percent of meteorites that really excite scientists. And, of these meteorites, the most interesting ones are the very, very few — less than one-half of one percent — that come from either Mars or the moon.One of Corrigan’s roles is to analyze meteorites to identify any unusual characteristics.For example, Love points out, “it’s super hard to take a bath.”To weather such a trip, whether it’s to Antarctica or space, you need to be even-keeled, he adds, and not easily stressed.Otherwise, “little things can really start to bother you about people,” he says. S research center on the tip of Antarctica’s Ross Island.The region is full of iron-rich chunks that formed during the beginning of the solar system.
There, NASA geologists classify, weigh and photograph each space rock.
The flow can concentrate meteorites in certain places, such as against mountains where old ice is brought to the surface.
What’s more, Antarctica’s dry frozen environment keeps them preserved. That can expose meteorites that might have landed hundreds of thousands of years earlier.
Such out-of-this-world experiences have surprising similarities to camping on a remote ice sheet. Living in seclusion with a small group is a challenge no matter where you are.
And in both places, even daily routines can be out-of-this world tough.