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Friday, February 5, 2016

Confessions of a Meteorite Hunter

Written by Annie Minoff

Nina Lanza knows space rocks. In her day job as a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, she operates the Curiosity Rover’s ChemCam, using a rock-vaporizing laser to analyze the Martian surface. But as of last week, Lanza was having a very different kind of encounter with space rocks: She was picking them up off of the Antarctic ice.

For the past six weeks, Lanza has been a rookie member of the ANSMET (the Antarctic Search for Meteorites) 2015-2016 field team. For 40 years, the project (run out of Case Western Reserve University) has sent teams of scientists to the bottom of the globe to recover meteorites from all over the solar system, including chunks of the moon, comets, even Mars. After recovering a total of 569 meteorites with her team, Lanza checks in with Ira about the finds, and shares a few audio postcards from the field.

Diary of a Meteorite Hunter: When we heard Nina Lanza was headed into the Antarctic deep field, we asked her to record a few notes, musings, and sounds from her journey.

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