An update about the Sutter’s Mill Meteorite that I mentioned yesterday. A few hours ago, I saw the pieces that Peter Jenniskens brought at the SETI Institute. I am not a meteorite expert but they indeed look like a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite. The fragments are black, with tiny white flecks scattered through the interior. On the surface, one can see black coating due to the heating during the passage through the Earth atmosphere.
While watching them, I had this unreal moment when I realized that these tiny pieces of rocks come from space and less than 5 days ago, they were part of a 5m-sized bolide which happened to cross the path of our planet. Because the meteoroid (source of the meteor) formed shortly after the formation of the solar system, it may be the oldest material that I would be seeing in my life.
These CM Chondrite meteorites are rare (<2%) and extremely valuable scientifically. Because they are primitive and possess organic materials, they contain information early solar system, the formation of the planets, and possibly the origins of molecules necessary for life.
To be able to study this meteorite, such as to derive the composition of the meteoroid, its internal structure, composition, age and possible origin, it is necessary to find more fragments. A coordinated campaign search is organized by a team of NASA Ames and SETI researchers on Saturday April 28 – 9am to explore an area near the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. Peter mentioned to me that everybody is welcome but you should be aware that search is expected to be strenuous and take all day. If you want to participate, don’t forget to bring:
If you are lucky and you find a piece of this meteorite by your own, please do the following:
I am attaching below a flyer providing more information of this meteorite and how to handle a fragment: METEORITE ALERT
Saturday is expected to be sunny, so have a good hunting!