Meteorite discovered in Antarctica — what could go wrong?

The International Polar Foundation (IPF) has just posted a fantastic series of pictures of a joint Belgian-Japanese research team discovering a fairly hefty meteorite near their research camp. The meteorite is about 18 kg and was discovered in the Nansen Ice Field, 140 km south of Princess Elisabeth, a zero-emissions research station in Antarctica. This hefty rock was one of about 420 meteorites the team found in the region.

Meteorite discovered in Antarctica — what could go wrong?

There are countless science fiction stories that start with an innocent team of researchers and explorers stumbling across a meteorite or buried object in Antarctica.

Meteorite discovered in Antarctica — what could go wrong?

This meteorite seems harmless enough, however. According to the IPF:

Initial field analysis by the scientists suggests that the 18kg meteorite is an ordinary chondrite, the most abundant kind of meteorite. The fusion crust – the meteorite's outer casing - was eroded, allowing the scientists to inspect the rock underneath. The meteorite is currently undergoing a special thawing process in Japan – to ensure water doesn't get inside the rock - but will be brought to Belgium in the future.

See more pictures of the mission to collect meteorites here.