NO. 13, AUGUST 1964
Editor: Stephen E. Clabauch
Favorite Visitor from Space
The University of Texas can't compete with Moon Maiden in the comic strip, Dick Tracy, but it does have an extensive collec tion of stony, metallic, and glassy objects from space. Pictured above is one of the best known, the Rosebud Meteorite. This photograph was taken at the Manned Spacecraft Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration near Houston, where the meteorite spent several months on loan from the Depart ment of Geology. It was examined by astronauts and studied by NASA scientists who drilled two small holes into the underside to obtain samples for microscopic study and chemical testing. This meteorite is especially noteworthy for its exceptionally well pre served ablation surface, the grooved and fluted surface produced when the rush of air past the "falling star" literally melted and burned away its forward surface to produce a natural nose cone. The meteorite was discovered near Rosebud, Texas, in Milam County about 1907, and for a while it was used as a hitching post in front of a local drugstore. In 1915 it was presented to the Uni versity of Texas, and in 1939 Fred Bullard published a detailed study of the meteorite in the American Mineralogist. It weighs 121 pounds, is 18 inches wide and 11 inches high. It is a stony meteor ite, being composed chiefly of small round pellets of silicates of iron and magnesium. About 1500 meteorites are known to exist in
scientific collections. Many of them are composed chiefly of metallic iron and nickel. Tektites are glassy objects, some of which appear to have de veloped remelted outer surfaces by ablation while traveling through the Earth's atmosphere. Virgil Barnes, who is a world au thority on tektites, argues that most tektites were produced from soil and rock which, melted when large meteors and possibly comets crashed into the Earth. He has suggested that the drop-like Australian tektites were splashed from a meteor crater in Antarctica and that the puddle-like masses of tektite glass in Indochina were produced in place when the surface of the ground melted during a comet impact. Other tektite specialists theorize that tektites were splashed from the moon by meteor impact or that they came from farther out in space. Barnes and Bullard are not the only Texas geo^gists with an interest in space geology these days. Two alumni are on the geology staff of the Manned Spacecraft Center. They are Uel Clanton and Elbert King. Bill Muehlberger helped plan field trips for the astronauts last spring and assisted in their field training in the Marathon-Big Bend region. Hoover Mackin is a member of the small committee on moon exploration which will probably be in direct television contact with the first man to sample the surface of the moon.