Five new meteorites found in Antarctica, one of which weighs 7.6 kilograms: it is estimated that of the approximately 45,000 recovered from the White Continent in the last century, only a hundred have dimensions comparable to or greater than these.
The study of their composition, which will be carried out at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, could reveal new clues about the history of the Universe.
"Size doesn't necessarily matter when it comes to meteorites, and even tiny micrometeorites can be incredibly valuable scientifically, but obviously finding a large meteorite like this is rare and really exciting," says Maria Valdes of the University of Chicago.
The cosmochemist is among the four researchers who participated in the international expedition (led by Vinciane Debaille of the Université Libre de Bruxelles), aimed at exploring potential new meteorite sites mapped using satellite images.
"Going on an adventure exploring unknown areas is exciting - says Debaille - but we also had to deal with the fact that the reality on the ground is much more difficult than the beauty of the satellite images".
Although the trip took place at the end of December, during the Antarctic summer, temperatures hovered around 10 degrees below zero and it was not easy to trek and sleep in a tent.
Valdes says she is eager to see what the laboratory analyzes will reveal, because "studying meteorites helps us better understand our place in the universe. The larger the sample of meteorites we have, the better we can understand our solar system and the better we can understand ourselves".