27 Jul 2018
On June 2nd, a fragment of a small asteroid fell onto earth and landed in Botswana.
The asteroid created a magnificent display, before exploding in the Earth’s atmosphere and resulting in a bright flash of light that shot through the sky.
Geoscientists from local universities and research institutes in Botswana found the first piece of asteroid five days later. International researchers from the U.S., Finland and South Africa then joined and helped recover a second piece in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, with nearby surveillance cameras said to have helped narrow down the search.
The search did, however, bring about its own challenges – going off-road and walking in the territory of wild animals or coming across a million of other similar-looking objects were just a few of the obstacles faced.
So, what makes this meteorite so special? According to Alexander Proyer, a professor at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, it is the fact that this meteorite had been anticipated and observed for eight hours before it collided. This event marks the third time in history that such an early observation was possible.
Fulvio Franchi, a lecturer at the university, accredited its importance to the fact that obtaining a sample of this asteroid would otherwise require a highly expensive space mission to recover, and called it a “free-of-charge delivery of material from space”.