A British resident picked up a rare meteorite that fell from the sky on his driveway, the same “big fireball” that was seen crossing the British sky on February 28.
The meteorite, a sample of which several space programs, such as NASA’s Hayabusa 2 and NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex, have sent spacecraft to land on asteroids in our solar system, has landed directly in the Home of a British resident.
A statement released by the Natural History Museum in London said the resident found the rock in his driveway about 12 hours after the “big fireball” event. The resident left it in his yard for a few days before handing it over to the Natural History Museum.
Ashley King, a researcher at the museum, said the meteorite is a carbonaceous spheroidal meteorite from one of the first asteroids born in our solar system and is important for studying the birth history of the planets in our solar system.
The meteorite, which weighs nearly 300 grams, is the first to be picked up in Britain since 1991, the Natural History Museum in London said.
“These kinds of meteorites are like relics of the early solar system and can tell us about the composition of the planets,” said Sara Russell, an expert on carbonaceous spheroidal meteorites at the museum, “We also think that it may have been these kinds of meteorites that brought water to Earth and gave rise to the oceans.”
Ashley King says the meteorite looks like a piece of coke, but is softer and more brittle than carbon. This demonstrates that early planets in our solar system had soft clay minerals on top, so there may have been solid water at one Time. In general, carbonaceous spheroidal meteorites contain a variety of minerals and organic matter within them, and also include amino acids, the basis for making up proteins.
Russell went on to describe, “It’s amazing that we sent Hayabusa 2 and Osiris to space to collect asteroid samples and this meteorite is just like the samples they collected back.”
Hayabusa 2 just returned to Earth late last year and collected 4.5 grams of such rock samples; Osiris is expected to return to Earth in 2023 and plans to collect about 60 grams of such samples. But the meteorite that fell in the British town of Winchcombe (Winchcombe) weighed more than 280 grams.
Researchers say this may be because the meteorite fell into Earth’s atmosphere relatively slowly, which is why a larger piece was preserved. They estimate the rock fell to earth at 46,800 kilometers per hour, with typical meteorites falling to earth at speeds of up to 252,000 kilometers per hour. At such speeds, carbonaceous spherical meteorites generally disintegrate and do not remain.
Moreover, the resident found it within 12 hours immediately after it hit the ground, keeping the meteorite from being more contaminated outdoors by things like rain.
Russell said, “It really couldn’t have been more fortunate that this meteorite fell to earth very slowly, was picked up immediately after it landed, and was not contaminated by rainwater that would have changed its natural internal composition.”