lunar image of the month

january: moon rocks in antarctica

Every year many meteoroids enter Earth's atmosphere (the bright trail marking them as meteors), fall to the ground (changing their designation to 'meteorites' in the process) and are immediately lost among the water, rocks and vegetation of our world. Only in large empty spaces such as the Sahara and Atacama deserts and Antarctica can they readily be found and separated from indigenous Earth rocks.

In recent years thousands of these meteorites have been found, many of them originating from the Moon or Mars where, millions of years ago, they were blasted into space by volcanic eruptions or crater impacts.

After their epic journeys they lie, dark and conspicuous against their surroundings, until teams of explorers such as this one near the transantarctic Mountain Range find and recover them.

Image: Ralph P. Harvey, Case Western Reserve University.