An Ontario physicist is embarking on a NASA-funded expedition to Antarctica to collect meteorites, in hopes that the fallen space rocks will give researchers new insight into the outer reaches of the solar system.
Scott VanBommel, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph, is joining the annual Antarctic Search for Meteorites for a six-week excursion to the Transantarctic Mountains, about 350 km from the South Pole.
It will mean sleeping in a two-person tent in one of the least hospitable environments on Earth, but VanBommel said it’s a chance to give back to the scientific community.
“I’m just really happy to go and be a part of this important work,” the 30-year-old said hours before his Friday departure. “We can learn a lot by studying these fragments of space rocks that potentially are in their native form, from when the solar system formed. They provide us little windows into the past, to study and potentially learn more.”
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