Saturday, February 4

Kolkata: Geological Survey of India to showcase its meteorite collection at a museum

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The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is setting up a state-of-the-art museum at its Park Street headquarters to showcase the fragmented heavenly bodies in its collection and ones that it will start receiving from across the country now. The GSI already has in its collection 700 meteorites dating back to 1798 and is now making space to receive more.

GSI has been made the guardian of all extra-terrestrial bodies that fall anywhere within Indian boundaries by the ministry of mines. Therefore, from now on, all meteorites that have fallen or will fall anywhere in the country, will be brought and kept in the city. The ministry has also asked GSI to augment its space research based on the information packed inside each meteorite.

Systematic cataloguing of meteorites has been in practice at GSI since 1865, when the entire meteorite collection of professor Robert Philip Greg was purchased by the then British government. The collection included ordinary and carbonaceous chondrites, achondrites, iron meteorites, and stony iron meteorites. Apart from meteorite samples, a few impactites (basaltic melt glass, tektite, etc) and melt breccia from Lonar Crater, Maharashtra and Dhala (Mohar) Crater, Madhya Pradesh, have been curated at the GSI.

Scientists of the meteorite and planetary division of GSI have been researching on the clues and codes that the celestial fragments contain. But now the laboratory is being upgraded for advanced research, for which scientists had to depend on foreign laboratories earlier.

“The ministry has asked us to increase our thrust on meteor research because they often hold clues to formation and evolution of stars, provide age and composition of the solar system and its evolution, and hint at the formation of life,” said director general of GSI, Dinesh Gupta.

Source: Times of India

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