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Title
Newsletter (University of Texas at Austin. Department of Geological Sciences) ; no. 13, 1964
Publisher
University of Texas at Austin. Department of Geological Sciences
Series
Newsletter (University of Texas at Austin. Department of Geological Sciences) Volume no. 13, 1964
Date
1964

AUSTIN,TEXAS

NO.13,AUGUST1964

Editor:StephenE.Clabauch

FavoriteVisitorfromSpace

TheUniversityofTexascan'tcompetewithMoonMaideninthecomicstrip,DickTracy,butitdoeshaveanextensivecollectionofstony,metallic,andglassyobjectsfromspace.Picturedaboveisoneofthebestknown,theRosebudMeteorite.ThisphotographwastakenattheMannedSpacecraftCenteroftheNationalAeronauticsandSpaceAdministrationnearHouston,wherethemeteoritespentseveralmonthsonloanfromtheDepartmentofGeology.ItwasexaminedbyastronautsandstudiedbyNASAscientistswhodrilledtwosmallholesintotheundersidetoobtainsamplesformicroscopicstudyandchemicaltesting.Thismeteoriteisespeciallynoteworthyforitsexceptionallywellpreservedablationsurface,thegroovedandflutedsurfaceproducedwhentherushofairpastthe"fallingstar"literallymeltedandburnedawayitsforwardsurfacetoproduceanaturalnosecone.ThemeteoritewasdiscoverednearRosebud,Texas,inMilamCountyabout1907,andforawhileitwasusedasahitchingpostinfrontofalocaldrugstore.In1915itwaspresentedtotheUniversityofTexas,andin1939FredBullardpublishedadetailedstudyofthemeteoriteintheAmericanMineralogist.Itweighs121pounds,is18incheswideand11incheshigh.Itisastonymeteorite,beingcomposedchieflyofsmallroundpelletsofsilicatesofironandmagnesium.About1500meteoritesareknowntoexistin

scientificcollections.Manyofthemarecomposedchieflyofmetallicironandnickel.Tektitesareglassyobjects,someofwhichappeartohavedevelopedremeltedoutersurfacesbyablationwhiletravelingthroughtheEarth'satmosphere.VirgilBarnes,whoisaworldauthorityontektites,arguesthatmosttektiteswereproducedfromsoilandrockwhich,meltedwhenlargemeteorsandpossiblycometscrashedintotheEarth.Hehassuggestedthatthedrop-likeAustraliantektitesweresplashedfromameteorcraterinAntarcticaandthatthepuddle-likemassesoftektiteglassinIndochinawereproducedinplacewhenthesurfaceofthegroundmeltedduringacometimpact.Othertektitespecialiststheorizethattektitesweresplashedfromthemoonbymeteorimpactorthattheycamefromfartheroutinspace.BarnesandBullardarenottheonlyTexasgeo^gistswithaninterestinspacegeologythesedays.TwoalumniareonthegeologystaffoftheMannedSpacecraftCenter.TheyareUelClantonandElbertKing.BillMuehlbergerhelpedplanfieldtripsfortheastronautslastspringandassistedintheirfieldtrainingintheMarathon-BigBendregion.HooverMackinisamemberofthesmallcommitteeonmoonexplorationwhichwillprobablybeindirecttelevisioncontactwiththefirstmantosamplethesurfaceofthemoon.