Asteroid Fragments Reveal History Of Meteorites

03.26.09 | FL News Team

flnn-meteorite - Meteorite

Analysis of ten pounds of debris from the same asteroid they watched explode in the atmosphere 23 miles over the Nubian Desert in Sudan is giving scientists important information on meteorite composition in relation to F-class asteroids.

The 80-ton asteroid -- about the size of a car -- was first spotted as a white dot on a computer screen by Richard Kowalski on October 5th. Working with the University of Arizona, Kowalski discovered the asteroid from an observatory on Mount Lemmon, near Tucson. He relayed the information to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Twenty hours later the asteroid exploded with the power of nearly two kilotons of TNT. Rarely do bits of asteroids survive entry into earth's atmosphere. In December, a scientist and 45 students roamed the Nubian Desert looking for the shiny black asteroid debris. The group found 280 pieces. The asteroid data can be found in the latest issue of "Nature."