Last Saturday, citizens in Calais, Maine, reported seeing a bright meteorite in the sky for more than 4 minutes, followed by a loud sonic boom.
NASA confirmed the sighting, calling it the area’s first-ever radar-observed meteor event.
Now a local museum is offering a reward for finding the meteorite somewhere in the woods between Maine and the Canadian border.
Darryl Pitt, chief of the meteorite division at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum, told CNN the reward was for a found meteorite piece weighing 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) or more. But he admitted the museum would be willing to pay for almost any part of the meteorite.
Pitt warned meteorite hunters to be careful when searching for treasure.
“Finding meteorites in the woods of Maine. It’s not the easiest environment,” he said. “It’s a sparsely populated area, but not as sparsely populated as where most meteorites fall — the ocean,” he added.
Why the premium?
The Maine Mineral & Gem Museum in Bethel, Maine, knows their meteorites. According to his website, the museum “displays the largest display of lunar and Martian meteorites on Earth.” Not bad for a small town with 2,600 inhabitants.
What makes the space stone so valuable that a reward is warranted?
Of the estimated 500 meteorites that reach the Earth’s surface each year, fewer than ten are recovered. Planetary science institution. This is because most fall into the ocean, land in remote areas, or are not seen (at night).
What is rare is precious.
“Meteorites falling to Earth represent some of the original, diverse materials that formed planets billions of years ago,” NASA said. “By studying meteorites, we can learn about early conditions and processes in the history of the solar system.”
Meteorite fragments can be tricky little buggers to find. They resemble earth rocks, but usually have a burnt exterior that can appear shiny.