Roger Harrington works on making a thin section in our @NASA_ARES Thin Section Lab

Roger Harrington, one of our @NASA_ARES Curation staff, is seen here as he works on polishing a sample in our Thin Section Lab.  To the left of Roger is a picture of Antarctic meteorite sample LAR 12011 and a petrographic thin section of this meteorite taken under polarized light. So what is a thin section?  A thin section is an extremely thin slice or sliver of a rock mounted onto a glass slide with epoxy.  They are prepared in order to help scientists investigate the textures and mineralogy of the rock using tools such as a polarizing petrographic microscope, scanning electron microscope, or an electron microprobe. This work is a part of petrology and helps to reveal the origin and evolution of the parent rock.  A thin section sample is approximately 30 micrometers (0.03 mm) thick – which is a little less than half the thickness of a human hair!  Petrographic thin section samples are available for check out by college and university professors.  For more information go to:



#ANSMET expedition complete! Team spent 5 weeks in #Antarctica searching for #meteorites!

#ANSMET 2015/2016 expedition complete! This amazing team, like so many others before them, spent five weeks in Antarctica (Miller Range) searching for meteorites in what most would consider bitter cold conditions. Think these team members would want to do this again next year?? Ask any one of them the next time you see them and see what they say! How about you – would you want to search for meteorites in Antarctica?

Now that this year’s mission is complete, the collected samples will be transported to our #NASA_Curation Meteorite Laboratory in Building 31 at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. We can’t wait to receive this year’s fabulous finds that through research and analysis, will help scientists better understand the history of our solar system! #RocksFromSpace

To read about this year’s 2015/16 Field Season, go to:

(Images courtesy of Case Western Reserve University and the 2015/16 Field team)


#ANSMET team continues their search for #meteorites in the #MillerRange in #Antarctica

This season’s #ANSMET team continues their search for meteorites in the Miller Range. The team searches for meteorites both large and small. Our very own @NASA_ARES team member, Cindy Evans, is seen here “face to the ice” searching for meteorites. As a sample is deemed worth collecting, a team member takes a photo of the sample with a counter/image scale device hovering above it. The sample is recovered using tongs and is put into a Teflon bag provided by #NASA_Curation. Once the sample is in the bag, the unique identifying number, embossed on a metal tag, is affixed to the sample bag (without touching the sample). The team did a midseason inventory (Nina and Morgan in bottom right image) and as of January 7, 2016, they have recovered a total of 392 samples….but their search continues!


To read more about this year’s 2015/16 Field Season, go to:

(Images courtesy of Case Western Reserve University and the 2015/16 Field team)

Micro-CT scanning enables detailed examination of clasts within lunar rocks

Our @NASA_ARES staff has completed preliminary work on the use of Micro-CT scanning with Apollo samples.  This animation illustrates how we used Micro-CT scanning to obtain detail on a specific basaltic clast within Apollo sample 60639.  As the animation begins you are first looking at the exterior surface of the sample before “cutting in” to look within the sample focusing in on the basaltic clast.  Making the low density portions of the rock transparent gives a better view of the whole clast and other high density clasts and mineral grains (e.g., olivines & pyroxenes) within the sample.  (Animation created through a collaboration between NASA_ARES & Natasha Almeida at the Natural History Museum in London.)

View animation at: