Scientists hunt meteorites in Antarctica with metal-detecting snowmobiles

Started by gash, April 16, 2018, 12:35:25 pm

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On the hunt for lost meteorites in Antarctica (which totally sounds like a mission straight out of Tomb Raider), researchers from the U.K.'s University of Manchester have turned to innovative metal-detecting technology to help them.

With that driving mission, they have developed a purpose-built detector unit which can be towed behind a Ski-Doo snowmobile. This metal-detecting device is based on tech optimized by University of Manchester researchers for airport security scanning, landmine removal, recycling, and non-destructive testing. In this specific case, the researchers hope to use it to discover iron meteorites which are hidden mere centimeters beneath the surface of the ice but are nonetheless difficult to discover.

The researchers have yet to face the chilly climes of the most remote parts of Antarctica, however. Instead, their recent small-scale test mission testing was carried out at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Arctic research station at Ny-Ă…lesund, Svalbard -- on the Norwegian archipelago between continental Norway and the North Pole.

"I'm thrilled our testing at Ny-Ă…lesund worked," applied mathematician Dr. Geoffrey Evatt, who led the team, said in a statement. "We now have the opportunity to commence on a truly exciting scientific adventure. If successful, our expeditions will help scientists to decode the origins of the Solar System and cement the U.K. as a leader in meteoritics and planetary science."

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