The extraction will be carried by an exploration vehicle, making it the first instance of meteorite extraction from the ocean.
Earlier this year, NASA’s weather telescopes detected a mysterious meteorite whizzing through the atmosphere and taking a plunge into the Pacific Ocean. What amazed the team at NASA was that the meteorite had hardly lost most of its content during entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, four months after the spotting, NASA’s planetary scientists have devised a mission to hunt for the space rock from the bottom of the Pacific in order to explore more about it.
Marc Fries, NASA’s planetary scientist, suggests that Earth may have a unique meteorite visit our planet for in a long time. The space rocks were found to not to crack, break or burn apart while making an entry into Earth’s hot atmosphere at tremendous speeds — something that’s usual with every other meteorite entry. "This one is special, is tougher than your typical meteor,” said Fries, in an interview. Therefore, scavenging the rocks from the bottom of the ocean is a necessity so as to study the origins of the rock.
However, NASA has previously never extracted space rocks from the ocean. Therefore, this is the first time the premiere space agency will attempt to scavenge meteorites from the ocean bed. The area where the rocks have landed is shallow and goes down up to 330 feet.
However, NASA will rely on an exploration vehicle, called Nautilus, to hunt for the mysterious rocks. The vehicle is equipped with robotic probes with magnetic arms that will pull out the meteorite, if it’s metallic in nature (meteorites are usually full of metals). The scientists say that even if the rock isn’t magnetic in nature, they can use the probe’s cameras to look at the rocks on the ocean bed and figure out the odd one out.
The unique properties of this mysterious meteorite has got the team excited at NASA. It is expected that this space rock will eventually unfold new secrets of the universe that may have been not unveiled yet.
(With inputs from Mashable)