Scientists from Nasa may have just found the first ever pieces of meteorite fragments in the Pacific Ocean. They have been hunting aboard the Nautilus vessel for pieces of a meteorite that fell in March 2018. It was one of the biggest meteorites falls in recent history, and the meteorite pieces had seemed especially sturdy, not prone to cracking or breaking as it passed through the atmosphere.
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Scientists on the Nautilus have identified two small pieces that could be part of the Meteorite rock. Preliminary analysis suggests that the small fragments are pieces of fusion crust — “meteorite exterior that melted and flowed like glaze on pottery as it entered the atmosphere,” wrote NASA LIVE.
To hunt for meteorites, scientists had to GAMBLE to the bottom of the seafloor. According to Mashable, Fries and his team had identified one square kilometer of the ocean where the meteorite falls and went about 100 meters deep, then went exploring on the Nautilus, an Ocean Exploration Trust vessel. The Nautilus was equipped with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) outfitted with cameras and “magnetic wands” to detect the iron often found in meteorites.
Meantime, backscatter instruments atop the ship scanned seafloor for any hard objects. Though the best way for scientists to detect meteorites was something far simpler: scientists studied the seafloor through the ROV’s cameras, looking for rocks that seemed out of place. “The best tools are eyes,” Fries told Mashable. Scientists will confirm the Nautilus preliminary findings in further tests.
Meteorites chunks can teach scientists about the history of the Earth and analysis chemical clues of the early Solar system. “Having any new piece of that puzzle is always welcome to the scientific community,” Fries told Newsweek.