Collections & Research Committee member Terry Boudreaux donated a very unusual meteorite specimen to The Field Museum’s Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies. The meteorite is named NWA 5492 after northwest Africa where it was found. Its petrology and chemical composition are very different compared to other meteorites and it cannot be classified with the existing scheme. It is therefore just described as an ungrouped chondrite.
About 470 million years ago – in a time period called Ordovician – the parent asteroid of one of the L chondrites, one of the most common meteorite types, was disrupted in a collision with another body. This event led to a subsequent bombardment of Earth with collisional debris for at least 10 million years. This finding is reported in a recent study by Field Museum scientists Dr. Birger Schmitz (Research Associate), Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Dr. Philipp Heck, and an international team of coauthors.
Right after the Mifflin Meteorite fell in SW Wisconsin in April 2010 the Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Dr. Philipp R. Heck coordinated an international study to determine the time it spent in space and to calculate its size in space before it got ablated and broke apart in our atmosphere.
Song lyrics aside, even when you catch a bit of stardust, it may take years to sort out what you've got.
Field Museum researchers have joined with scientists around the globe to find contemporary interstellar dust gathered by NASA's Stardust space mission launched more than a decade ago.
This story was featured on the December 14, 2010 show Scientific Chicago on WTTW Channel 11.