Somewhere Here Lies an Ancient Space Relic

It just dropped from space, and the search is on
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2021 7:11 AM CST
Updated Mar 7, 2021 7:40 AM CST
Somewhere Here Lies an Ancient Space Relic
Experts say the meteorite is likely to be found in this area.   (Fripon / Vigie-Ciel)

The search is on for an apricot-sized meteorite somewhere near Aiguillon, France. Cameras at an astronomy facility in Mauraux spotted the small space rock falling to Earth over southwest France last weekend, per the Guardian. The meteorite landed at 10:43pm Saturday near Aiguillon, some 60 miles southeast of Bordeaux, but no one has found it yet. And that's not for lack of trying. Posters have been placed around the area asking for help in searching for the five-ounce rock and notifying residents of the precious commodity in their midst. "A fresh meteorite like this, which fell just a few days ago, hasn't been altered by the Earth's environment and therefore contains very precious information for scientists," explains Mickael Wilmart, who belongs to the association that operates the observatory.

Meteorites, which usually have a shiny, burned exterior, are "relics of the solar system's creation," says Wilmart in a statement, per the Local. According to NASA, they "represent some of the original, diverse materials that formed planets billions of years ago." Some even come from Mars. "We're really counting on people to look in their gardens, or along the side of the road," says Wilmart. "They might just stumble on this rock that's wanted so badly." The Mauraux facility is part of a network of 100 cameras assembled for the Sky Watch project, which seeks to track and identify the 10 or so meteorites thought to land in France each year, but success is no guarantee. Even knowing the rough location of the meteorite, "it's a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack," says Wilmart. (This guy found a meteorite in the worst possible way.)

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