NASA Hunts for Mysterious Meteorite in the Pacific

Enter the Ocean Exploration Trust. Founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to “engage in pure ocean exploration,” it provides its 64-meter Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus and its remote-controlled submarines to NASA for various projects. Nautilus just “happened” to be in the area and offered to be a part of what Fries called the “first intentional search for meteorites from the ocean.”

According to the Nautilus reports, the crew conducted a multibeam sonar survey on July 1 to identify possible locations, On July 2, two remote-controlled subs conducted a 7-hour survey of the seabed in the most likely spot and collected samples with a suction hose, magnet and scooper. The bucket of sand was then taken to Dr. Fries, who sifted through it and issued this report:

“NASA Cosmic Dust Curator Dr. Marc Fries conducted an initial visual analysis of the samples collected, and his preliminary findings include two small fragments of fusion crust–meteorite exterior that melted and flowed like glaze on pottery as it entered the atmosphere. Additional analysis will be conducted in the coming weeks to determine if these fragments indeed came from the massive meteorite fall seen entering the Pacific Ocean off Washington’s coast in March 2018.”

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