Questions for ‘Hot on the trail of Antarctic meteorites’


Antarctica can be a great place to hunt for meteorites because they show up easily on the icy surface. However, they also can be difficult to distinguish from regular rocks on the ice.

Cindy Evans/NASA

To accompany feature “Hot on the trail of Antarctic meteorites”


Before Reading

1.  What are meteorites? Where do they come from? How difficult is it to find them?

2.  Where is Antarctica? What are the conditions there? Is it cold or hot? Does anyone live there?

During Reading

1.  What are meteorites called before they land on Earth?

2.  The label “RBT 04262” has a hidden meaning. What is it?

3.  Why is Antarctica a good place for finding meteorites?

4.  What are two similarities between living in space and living in Antarctica?

5.  What happens to meteorites at the Johnson Space Center?

6.  What are three ways that Cari Corrigan and her colleagues protect meteorites from contamination?

7.  Meteorites come from places outside of Earth. Name two.

8.  How can scientists tell where a meteorite originated?

9.  Why does Danny Glavin look for amino acids in meteorites? What can those chemicals tell him?

10.  How do meteorites figure into the search for extraterrestrial life?

After Reading

1.  Searching for meteorites in Antarctica takes a lot of planning. In a group, come up with a plan for an Antarctic meteorite search. When would you go? How would you get there? How would you travel across Antarctica? What kind of clothes would you need to wear? What kinds of equipment would you need?

2.  What kind of evidence do scientists need to find in meteorites to prove that extraterrestrial life exists? Do you think they will find this? Why or why not? And if they do, will that change how you view the universe? Explain your answer.


1.  In an average six-week field session, an ANSMET team finds and collects 550 meteorites in Antarctica. On average, how many meteorites do they find each week during that field session?

2.  Assume that ANSMET teams found 7,840 meteorites between 1995 and 2017. If a team finds about 550 meteorites per season, how many will they have collected by 2050?