A meteorite crashed in pieces over northern Maine, and a museum will pay thousands if anyone can bring them a big enough chunk.
On Saturday around noon, a fireball burnt through the sky near Maine’s border with Canada, bright enough to be seen in broad daylight. Witnesses captured the space rock’s flight on radar, and heard sonic booms for miles.
From the rare radar data, NASA estimates that the “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.”
Under the path of the meteorite lies the town of Bethel, Maine, home to the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum. They have a large collection of space rocks, including a large, intact Mars rock named Taoudenni 002, which was found in Mali in 2021. And they would really like a piece of Saturday’s meteorite, and they’re willing to pay for it.
According to the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum’s Facebook page, they’re offering a bounty of $25,000 to anyone who brings them a large chunk from the weekend’s skyfall.
“The Museum is offering a $25,000 reward for the first 1 kilogram 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,” says the Facebook entry
“With more people having an awareness, the more people will look — and the greater the likelihood of a recovery,” said museum chair Darryl Pitt.
It’ll take keen eyes. If such a large fragment exists, it’ll be about the size of a softball, in a projected debris field a mile wide and twelve miles long.
The museum is already home to the Stifler collection of meteorites, one of the world’s largest collection of space rocks, some as much as 4.5 billion years old.