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Geologist Kelley will discuss Antarctic search for meteorites

A Georgia Southern University geologist who spent six weeks in Antarctica collecting meteorites will give a seminar on his adventure.

Michael Kelley will discuss ‘The 2005-2006 U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites Expedition” on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Free and open to the public, the seminar will be held at 6 p.m. in the College of Information Technology Auditorium (Room 1004).

Kelley is a research scientist and temporary assistant professor of geology in the University’s Department of Geology and Geography. In December 2005 and January 2006, he took part in the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET), an annual expedition funded by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs.

Meteorites provide essential data about the materials that make up asteroids, planets and other bodies in the Earth’s solar system. The continued retrieval of meteorites is the cheapest and only guaranteed way to obtain new specimens from other worlds.

Often described as a desert of ice, Antarctica covers about 5.4 million square miles. The continent’s bleak landscape is the primary reason it is considered the most reliable source of non-microscopic extraterrestrial material on earth.

Since the project’s creation in 1976, ANSMET has recovered more than 15,000 meteorites from Antarctica. Kelley’s expedition collected 237 meteorites that were forwarded to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for further study.

In addition to Kelley, the 12-person team included scientists from the Johnson Space Center, the Canadian Space Agency and the American Museum of Natural History.

During the expedition, Kelley maintained an electronic journal that was posted on Georgia Southern’s official Web site. His seminar will feature highlights of the expedition, including images and information that did not appear in his online journal.

For more information, contact Kelley at mkelley@georgiasouthern.edu or (912) 486-7913.

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