Museum Offers $25K for Pieces of Meteorite—If You Can Find Them

Last week, a meteor burned through the sky above the Northeastern United States at such a speed that it broke the sound barrier. According to NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Lab, the space rock was large enough to create a fireball that could be clearly seen entering the atmosphere, despite the fact that it fell to earth just before noon.

Now, the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum is offering $25,000 to whomever brings in a piece of the meteorite that weighs at least 2.2 pounds, CNN reports. 

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ARES was able to track the falling space rock via radar and believes there may be fragments scattered in the dense woods near the Canadian border around Calais, Maine. 

Darryl Pitt, head of the Mineral & Gem Museum’s meteorite division, told CNN he was excited to study any fragments of the meteorite because they may “contain valuable information about the solar system.” (He also clarified that the museum would pay for any sample of the meteorite.)

Pitt added that going for a hike through the forest to pick up bits of space rock may not be as easy as it sounds. “Finding meteorites in woods of Maine. It’s not the simplest of the environments,” he said, before adding a bit of hope for any burgeoning rock hunters. “It’s a sparsely populated area but not as sparsely populated as where most meteorites fall—the ocean.” 

According to CBC, those who to try for the $25,000 bounty should be on the lookout for smooth, heavy black rocks, perhaps with a few indentations on the surface, that contain enough metal for them to be magnetic. 

Pitt told CBC that looking for a meteorite was simply a “great way to spend the day.”

“[To] help science, get outdoors and be able to have one in your hand and then look up in the sky and understand it came from between Mars and Jupiter, [it’s] a pretty enthralling experience.”


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