Ep8 - Searching for Meteorites in Antarctica with Mini Wadhwa

Mini Wadhwa with a meteorite she discovered in Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Mini Wadhwa

Antarctica is famous for gigantic ice sheets and charismatic animals, but Antarctica is also one of the best places to search for meteorites– rocks that have traveled through space and survived passing through Earth’s atmosphere. 

Mini Wadhwa is a planetary scientist who studies meteorites to learn about the formation of our universe and what conditions are like in other parts of our solar system. She is the Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and the Principal Scientist for the Mars Sample Return Mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Wadhwa discusses what it’s like to work in Antarctica, an accident that nearly killed her while on a field expedition, and why representation matters as a woman of color in science.

Dr. Wadhwa and colleagues en route to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Mini Wadhwa

Dr. Wadhwa arriving at McMurdo Station. Photo courtesy of Mini Wadhwa

McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica. Photo  by Gaelen Marsden (Wikipedia)

Blue ice field in the Transantarctic Mountains. Photo: Wikipedia

Dr. Wadhwa searching for meteorites in Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Mini Wadhwa

Dr. Wadhwa and colleagues at a meteorite field in Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Mini Wadhwa

A meteorite from Mars (ALH84001), discovered in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Learn more about Mini Wadhwa at https://search.asu.edu/profile/957644

Watch her TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iukJJ2u0vlo 

McMurdo Antarctic Research Station: https://www.nsf.gov/geo/opp/support/mcmurdo.jsp 

This episode of Wild World was produced with support from: 

Lindblad Expeditions: https://www.expeditions.com    

The Rice University Traveling Owls: https://alumni.rice.edu/travelingowls