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December 3, 2008

University of Calgary masters student Ellen Milley (top) holds up a piece of space rock on November 28 that she and U of C meteorite expert Alan Hildebrand (above) discovered on a pond in a valley called Buzzard Coulee. This and other rocks will be taken to study more closely. ©Provost News Photos.

4.5 Billion Year Old Space Rock Only 38 Miles From Provost
Space rock from a meteorite approximately 4.5 billion years old has been found by University of Calgary researchers near Lone Rock, Sask, on November 27 not far from the Alberta border.

The find was made on Thursday at approximately 3:50 p.m. and is approximately an hour’s drive north east of Provost by road or approximately 38 miles (60 kms) in a straight line.

Press were invited to the site early Friday afternoon where planetary scientist Dr. Alan Hildebrand and graduate student Ellen Milley had located a dozen fragments of the meteorite. They are conducting a search of the area to collect some of the thousands of fragments that originated from a large asteroid. The area to be searched includes an estimated 20 square kilometer area near the Battle River.

One rock photographed for this story was found embedded on the top of an icy pond on cattle rancher Ian Mitchell’s land while some other samples had already been put in a car for safekeeping.

Meteorites become the property of the landowner.

A fireball was seen ripping across Alberta and Saskatchewan late Thursday afternoon, November 20, lighting up the sky for a few moments. The fragments originally from a 10 tonne asteroid broke into a series of explosions in the sky near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border before impacting on the ground or frozen sloughs.

Hildebrand said that over his career this “was the first time” that he found a meteorite before others had got to it. He was asked how he knew the find was a meteorite and the geologist replied that he had been studying similar objects for 20 years and that he is confirming this as a meteorite.

Milley says that “I didn’t think there was any chance we would find it driving around.” The pieces were found near a country road and on the pond. No snow had yet fallen in the area.

Fireballs are rocks that enter the atmosphere at over 60,000 km/h (37,200 miles per hour). Friction with the atmosphere causes the outside of the rock to heat and light up.

The rock pieces originated from the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids are made up of the leftover material from the formation of the Solar System.

Meteorites fall under Canadian Cultural Property laws, which means that they are subject to export control, requiring a permit for export.

In last week’s paper (“Fireball Pieces May be Near” PN Nov. 26) Dr, Christopher Herd of the University of Alberta, had explained some of the aspects of meteorites. Since the meteorite find, his father Dr. Richard Herd who is curator for National Collections, Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa asked to use photos scheduled to be printed in The Provost News dated December 3 (today) for a PowerPoint presentation he was to make on Monday afternoon, December 1 at the Canadian Government’s space agency’s headquarters in St-Hubert near Montreal, Quebec. The December 1-3 meeting is the 6th Canadian Space Exploration Workshop (CSEW6) and the scientists taking in the presentations are from across the country and from overseas.

“Such eyewitness and timely photos would make quite the impression.  The talk is to an audience of over 200 scientists, engineers and others considering scientific priorities for Canada in space exploration” said Herd in an e-mail.

Five Provost News photos were e-mailed for the scientists to examine.

“On a related topic, if you are speaking with people who have found meteorites on their property, please tell them they should be contacting the U of Alberta, the National Meteorite Collection in Ottawa, or similar institutions (Christopher is the chair of our astromaterials committee) which have experience analyzing meteorites, handling them properly, and getting proper evaluations done on them so that people receive fair compensation for their finds.  Private buyers such as dealers in meteorites tend to want to get something for nothing if possible so they can sell it on at a bigger profit.”

The Quebec conference has as its theme “Canadian Scientific Priorities for the Global Exploration Strategy,” which will allow the Canadian space exploration community to present and discuss ideas for Canada's scientific priorities for the Global Exploration Strategy (GES). The GES is a new international framework for co-ordination of exploration activities, and has the interest of 14 space agencies, including the Canadian Space Agency, in developing new partnerships towards the exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond. The GES presents a vision for robotic and human exploration focusing on destinations within the solar system where humans may one day live and work.

Full interview and photos in December 3 edition of The Provost News.
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Standard Play for Volleyball Team: Best in Alberta
• Host STA Takes 4th
Two schools from southern Alberta battled for first place in Alberta on Saturday evening during the Alberta School Athletics Association 1A Girls Provincial Volleyball Playoffs held at St. Thomas Aquinas School.

The Standard, Alberta school Rams team celebrated their sixth provincial title in a row under the coaching of Susan Moncks.

Full story and photos in December 3 edition of The Provost News.
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Drunk Drivers Being Sent Another Message
Full story in December 3 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
This week we ask : "What’s Your Favourite Computer Game?"
. . . and we heard answers from Michael Musak, Wes Beier, Cody Cornelssen, Shayne Copeland, and Spencer Nelson. Check out the December 3 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
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