Debris from a fireball that streaked across the sky on the East Coast of the United States earlier this week has yet to be found, but a separate meteor over India made its eventual landing sight far easier to discover. Villagers found a massive, muddy hole in a paddy field in the state of Bihar, and at the bottom was what appears to be a pristine example of a metal-rich space rock.
A statement from officials includes photos of the large rock, which is said to have magnetic properties, and while scientists have yet to confirm that it is indeed a meteorite, it certainly fits the description.
The meteorite, while rather large in terms of the debris left over by most fireballs, didn’t exactly do a ton of damage when it landed. As seen in photos of the rock’s impact site, it gouged a significant hole in the mud, ejecting a bit of mud and creating a noticeable crater.
Scientists can confirm the rock’s identity, though given the photographic evidence it’s clear the rock either fell from space or is the result of an incredibly elaborate hoax. Given that the rock is currently being held by a museum, and will presumably not find its way into the hands of private collectors willing to pay big bucks for it, we’ll have to assume it’s a genuine article.
It’s a timely reminder that while astronomers are really, really good at spotting most of the large space rocks that have a chance of impacting Earth, there are plenty of much smaller objects that can appear at any moment. If a rock the size of this meteorite hit you, you probably wouldn’t live to tell the tale. Then again, you’d have better odds of winning the lottery multiple times before dying from getting hit by a space rock, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.