Meteorites wanted with $25k reward for first large find from fireball shower | Science | News

A museum has offered a $25,000 (£19,964) reward for the first person to bring them a large space rock from a meteor shower seen over the USCanada border last Saturday. A fireball was spotted over Maine and New Brunswick at noon on April 8 — with sonic booms reported in the city of Calais, Maine and NASA reporting the detection of multiple meteorites falling through the sky. The reward for a suitably large meteorite from the fireball was posted by the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel, which boasts the Earth’s single largest rock specimens from both the Moon and Mars.

In a post on Facebook, the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum wrote :”On Saturday April 8th, there was an extraordinary event that happened in Washington County.

“A fireball was spotted streaking through the sky — during the day! Most fireballs that are witnessed are seen at night, their light easily contrasting against the night sky.

“This fireball being seen during the day is incredibly rare; imaging how bright it would have been at night. NASA also spotted possible specimens and their locations through Doppler radar.

“The strewn field is projected to be just north of Waite, Maine to over the Canadian border directly west of Canoose, New Brunswick.”

The spokesperson continued: “The museum is offering a $25,000 reward for the first one kilogram [2.2 pound] specimen found from the event.

“The museum is able to test specimens for identification. Appointments must be made with Al Falster, the research lab technologist.

“Results from testing will be available in five to 10 business days and there is a cost due to specimen preparation that is needed for testing.”

They added: “Specimens exhibiting advanced botanical matter are not from this fireball event! And please remember: you must obtain landowner permission BEFORE meteorite hunting.”

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In a separate post, the museum’s Meteorite Division Chair, Darryl Pitt, added: “Doppler radar returns — meteorites detected descending through the atmosphere just several miles above ground — assures us there are meteorites waiting to be found.”

While the $24,000 reward is being reserved for the first suitably large sample presented, the museum has also said it will purchase any additional specimens found.

Mr Pitt explained: “Depending on the type of meteorite this is, specimens could easily be worth their weight in gold.”

Yesterday, Mr Pitt also told the Associated Press that “with more people having an awareness, the more people will look — and the greater the likelihood of a recovery.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether the meteorites deposited by the shower will actually be large enough to scoop anyone the museum’s reward.

According to NASA, “meteorite masses calculated from the radar signatures range from 1.59g (0.004 pounds) to 322g (0.7 pounds) — although larger masses may have fallen.”

NASA’s projections of the meteor shower’s strewn field suggests larger samples will be found closer to Waite.

However, the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum added: “The greatest likelihood of finding specimens will be directly west of Caboose, straddling the border.”

“First-time meteorite hunters are encouraged to first go to meteorite identification sites on the internet so they know what they’re looking for.”


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