Working on a meteorite first discovered in 1951, a group of researchers has now found a rare form of an iron-carbide mineral never before seen in nature. The finding is the key prerequisite for the new mineral to later be officially recognized as such by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).
The Wedderburn meteorite was found in a small town with the same name in Australia. Researchers have been working on it for decades to figure out the secrets behind it. Now, a group lead by mineralogist Chi Ma has decoded another one with the new mineral.
Only a third of the original meteorite remains intact at the Museum Victoria in Australia. The rest was divided into a series of slices and used to analyze the content of the meteorite. The analysis showed traces of gold and iron, as well as other rare minerals such as kamacite, taenite and troilite.
Now we can add a new mineral to that list, known as ‘edscottite’ in honor of meteorite expert and cosmochemist Edward Scott from the University of Hawaii. It’s a significant discovery as never before researchers had been able to confirm that this atomic formulation of iron carbide mineral occurs naturally. Previously, only the synthetic form of the iron carbide mineral was known.
“We have discovered 500,000 to 600,000 minerals in the lab, but fewer than 6,000 that nature’s done itself,” Museums Victoria senior curator of geosciences Stuart Mills, who wasn’t involved with the new study, told The Age.
There’s not much clarity yet on how the natural edscottite ended up outside of Wedderburn in Australia. But the first theories are already available. Planetary scientists Geoffrey Bonning, a researcher at Australian National University, believes the mineral could have formed in the core of an ancient planet.
A long time ago, this planet could have produced a big cosmic collision that involved another planet or moon or asteroid. The blast would have led to fragmented parts of the world travel across time and space, according to Boning. This would explain the finding of the fragment in Wedderburn.
The findings were published in American Mineralogist, part of the Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials.
Manitoba company helps land Perseverance rover on Mars with high-speed camera – CBC.ca
It’s only about the size of a loaf of bread. But a high-speed, tough-as-nails camera created by a company in Minnedosa, Man., played an instrumental role in landing NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars last week.
“You could run over it, it could fall, you could throw it out your window. That’s how tough they need to be,” Canadian Photonic Labs president Mark Wahoski said of the camera used in the monumental landing on Feb. 18.
His company, based in the southwestern Manitoba town — population around 2,500 — manufactures high-speed cameras for industrial, scientific and military markets, according to its website.
It took years to design the Perseverance camera in a way that would allow it to withstand the planet’s gravitational force — and snap images fast enough, Wahoski told host Marjorie Dowhos on CBC’s Radio Noon on Friday.
“It’s really hard to comprehend just how fast that is,” he said. “They go anywhere from normal, 30 frames per second — like your cellphone camera — all the way up to 250,000 frames per second.”
And the testing involved to make sure it’s up to the task before it gets sent into space is just as complex.
One of the simulations involved sending a metal sled with rocket engines strapped on top of it down a five-mile railroad bed in California, Wahoski said.
Another saw a helicopter lift a parachute, tied to that same rocket sled, up thousands of feet in the air before sending the sled down the track.
“On one of the tests, they determined they had to make this particular part stronger. So without those tests, the lander probably would not make it,” Wahoski said.
The Manitoba company’s relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that’s happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
“A lot of it you can’t speak about…. You do the test and you do the support and you move on to the next project,” he said.
However, the attention around the Perseverance rover landing has been an exciting development, Wahoski said.
Once the landing finally happened, he said he had one word to describe how he felt: awesome.
“We had to just reflect back and say, ‘Oh gee, yeah, we did some of that.'”
NASA's Perseverance Rover Transmits to Earth from the Surface of Mars – UPI.com
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image during its descent to Mars, using its Descent Stage Down-Look Camera. This camera is mounted on the bottom of the descent stage and looks at the rover. This image was acquired on February 22, 2021 (Sol 1) at the local mean solar time of 10:37:31. A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith. NASA/UPI
SEE IT: moon-sized fireball shot through sky over Chatham-Kent – Chatham Daily News
Stargazers were treated to quite the show on Friday night with a giant fireball spotted in Chatham-Kent.
Peter Brown, Western University professor in the astronomy and physics department, posted on Twitter on Saturday morning that the fireball ended at approximately 30 km in height just north of Lake St. Clair near Fair Haven, Mich.
According to the NASA website, observers in Ontario, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania reported the sighting at 10:07 p.m. EST.
“This event was captured by several all sky meteor cameras belonging to the NASA All Sky Fireball Network and the Southern Ontario Meteor Network operated by Western University,” it stated.
“A first analysis of the video data shows that the meteor appeared 90 km (56 miles) above Erieau on the northern shore of Lake Erie. It moved northwest at a speed of 105,800 kilometres per hour (65,800 miles per hour), crossing the U.S./Canada border before ablating 32 kilometres (20 miles) above Fair Haven, Mich.”
NASA stated the orbit of the object is “low inclination” and has an aphelion — defined as the point in the orbit of an object where it is farthest from the sun — near the orbit of Jupiter, and a perihelion — nearest to the sun — between the orbits of Mercury and Venus.
“It suggests that the meteor was caused by a fragment of a Jupiter family comet, though an asteroidal origin is also possible. At its brightest, the fireball rivalled the quarter moon in intensity. Combining this with the speed gives the fragment a mass of at least two kilograms and a diameter of approximately 12 centimetres (five inches).
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