Who are NASA's Earth and Space Science Explorers?
The middle school students who track weather to study its effect on bursting tree buds. And the scientist studying black holes in distant galaxies. But also the teacher whose class shares Earth science data with students around the world. And the engineer who designs robotic instruments to probe hard-to-reach planets. All of these people are Earth Explorers, Space Science Explorers or both. The Earth Explorers and Space Science Explorers series features NASA explorers, young and old, with many backgrounds and interests.
Dr. Lucy McFadden spent six weeks in Antarctica hunting for meteorites. Image Credit: NASALucy McFadden is a scientist with NASA's Dawn mission. Dawn is a spacecraft on its way to study asteroids. Asteroids are rocky objects in space. Small pieces of asteroids that have fallen to Earth are called meteorites. McFadden talks about her experiences below.
The meteorite-hunting team slept in tents during the mission. Image Credit: NASAWe went to Antarctica by airplane. When we got there, we set up our tents. I shared a tent with one other person. Each tent had a stove. The stove kept us warm. We made hot drinks to warm us up. We also brought plenty of food to cook.
The meteorites the team found were collected and sent to Johnson Space Center for scientists to study them. Image Credit: NASAUpon finding a meteorite, we would give it a number and take a picture of it. We would also write down its size, what it looked like and where we found it. Sometimes we would spend an hour in one place finding many meteorites.
During breaks, Lucy McFadden read books to relax. Image Credit: NASAThe meteorites were sent to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas. They are organized and stored there. Pieces of the meteorites are then sent out to scientists who study them.