New Mineral Found In Meteorite
A research team combined of South Korean, Japanese and U.S. NASA scientists have discovered a new mineral in a meteorite found in Antarctica. The research team was led by the NASA scientist Keiko Nakamura-Messenger. Discovered in 1969, the meteorite is known as the Yamato 691 enstatite chondrite. It was discovered along with the Allende and Murchison meteorites, and at the same time when the first lunar samples returned from the Apollo missions. All of these important materials help scientists determine the components and formation of our solar syztem.
NASA believes that this meteorite was originally in orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Wassonite is incredibly small but has interesting properties that make it a very important discovery. The meteorite is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old This new discovery brings the list from the International Mineralogical Association to 4,500 of recognized minerals. Wassonite is composed of just sulfur and titanium in a never before seen crystaline structure.
The differences and unique minerals found in the nine samples recovered by a Japanese expedition to the Yamato Mountains of Antarctica in 1969 inspired for a more thorough search in the area. The meteorite containing Wassonite was one of the 40,000 additional specimens gathered from Antarctica. Rare martian and Moon meteorites were also discovered.
Other unknown minerals surround the Wassonite sample that may prove to be new discoveries as well. The grains of the new mineral are so small that the special transmission electron microscope at NASA was required to examine it. Although research has been performed on the meteorite since its discovery in 1969, but only recent technology increases allowed the mineral to be viewed. The name was given to honor Professor John T. Wasson. He has contributed greatly to meteorite research, including models for explaining the chemical composition of chondrites.