‘Treasure map’ predicts where 300,000 meteorites are hiding in Antarctica

Meteorites are known to fall everywhere, but Antarctica’s unique environment makes them easier to spot in the snow. Still, going to Antarctica to collect meteorites is exhausting and dangerous work.

Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have used artificial intelligence to create a treasure map that shows where in Antarctica is most likely to find meteorites and guides researchers where to look.

“After analysis, it is understood that the observations of temperature, glacier speed, surface coverage and geometric shape by artificial satellites can play a role in predicting the location of meteorites, and it is hoped that the accuracy of the “treasure map” can reach 80%. said Veronica Tollenaar, who led the study. Scientists have calculated that more than 300,000 meteorites are waiting to be discovered in the Antarctic region. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

For thousands of years, space meteorites fell and embedded themselves in the Antarctic continental ice sheet, flowing slowly with the glacier. If the glacier encounters a huge obstacle, such as the Transantarctic Mountains, the ice rises and meteorites are brought to the surface. In addition, dry Antarctic winds gradually eroded the ice and exposed meteorites. The process repeats itself as more ice rises to the surface, and given enough time, a large amount of meteorites will be pushed up.

Meteorites are too small to be detected from space, but using satellites to indirectly measure temperature, glacier velocity, surface slope and ice-reflected radar signals, combining all the data and using artificial intelligence to learn, researchers can predict where the meteorites are concentrated on the surface. Interested readers can go to the interactive treasure map treasure hunt to explore the Antarctic continent and the locations where meteorites are likely to be found at home.

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