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28 November, 2002

Greetings to everyone following the 2002-2003 season of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites. The members of the Beardmore team will be taking turns contributing to this website. Since this is my first post let me introduce myself. My name is Dante Lauretta and I am an Assistant Professor in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. I study primitive chondritic meteorites to learn about the origin of the solar system and the formation of rocky bodies such as the Earth, the other terrestrial planets, the Moon, and asteroids. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to search for meteorites on the blue ice fields of Antarctica. I have studied several Antarctic meteorites as part of my research activities and am grateful for the efforts of previous ANSMET teams. I feel that by parcticipating in this expedition I am giving something back to the scientific community.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Before leaving Tucson I had an enormous amount of work to finish. I was so busy that I did not have much time to think about what lay in store for me. It was something of a relief to step on that first airplane knowing that I could put my work behind me for a little while. Since arriving in Antarctica we have been busy preparing our gear and ourselves for six weeks in a remote location on the coldest, driest continent on Earth. We have learned many important skills such as basic first aid, mountaineering, snowmobile operation and repair, loading and transporting snow sleds, setting up a Scott tent, lighting and cooking on an expedition white-gas stove, and waste management in the Antarctic. I have also gotten pretty good at taking orders, which is pretty easy because our team leaders are very experienced and easy to get along with. The team that has been assembled is first class and I am ready to trust these people with my life. I am sure that all of this will be a distant memory in six weeks time but my experience so far has been fantastic and I could leave Antarctica today and say that I had a great time. I am really looking forward to heading out for the field next Monday. However, McMurdo station will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday and I am sure our last weekend here will be a lot of fun.

Dante Lauretta

McMurdo Station


A view of McMurdo Station from the Ross Ice Shelf

Heading out with our gear loaded on sleds for the "shakedown"

Nancy Chabot and I in front of Castle Rock.

Our first field camp (a practice run)

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