WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Mississippi residents are collecting fragments from the ‘fireball’ meteor that blazed across three U.S. states.
- The meteorite was traveling at 35,000 mph (56,000 km/h) when it exploded at around 8:03 p.m. local time with the “energy equivalent of 3 tons of TNT.”
- NASA requested the public to stop sending in meteorite fragments for analysis and recommended a self-test checklist from Washington University in St. Louis instead.
Fragments from a meteorite are scattered across Mississippi, and residents started collecting them. A flaming meteor on April 7 blazed across and left remnants in three U.S. states, including Mississippi.
The authorities have declined to disclose the specific location where these meteorite fragments have been found but based on the information at hand, it is near Natchez, Mississippi.
There are a handful of people that witnessed the fireball incident at around 8:03 p.m. local time. Live Science said that at its peak the meteorite was 10 times brighter than the moon, adding that it created shockwaves when it landed and the energy released in the explosion is estimated at 3 tons of TNT.
Data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES 16 and 17 satellites indicate that the meteor was moving at 35,000 mph (56,000 km/h) before it exploded. This is lower than the initial estimate at 55,000 mph (88,500 km/h) posted on Facebook.
NASA Meteor Watch shared a picture of the meteorite fragment, showing that the space rock is coal-colored. New Orleans reported that the fragment hit the ground at 200 to 300 mph (321 to 482 km/h).
NASA requested the public to stop sending in meteorite fragments for analysis. Instead, the department recommended a self-test checklist from Washington University in St. Louis to confirm if the fragment collected is a meteorite, and when it comes to these extraterrestrial rocks, finders keepers is the rule.
“Existing law states that any meteorites belong to the owner of the property on which they fell; out of respect for the privacy of those in the area, we will not disclose the locations of these finds,” the NASA Facebook post read.
Meteorites could be sold at different prices, depending on how uncommon it is. The most valuable are estimated at $1,000 per gram, this does not appear to be the case for those found in Mississippi. The pictures from people that collected these fragments indicate that these are chondrites or unclassified meteorites, which are priced at about $0.50 per gram.
Source: Live Science