I was in the middle of a meeting at work this morning when a co-worker (a meteorite expert no less) forwarded me an article about the strange goings-on in a New Jersey bathroom. I knew that I would have to write a post about it before going to bed:
A hole in the roof, a bathroom full of debris and a strange, silvery rock near the toilet — the Nageswaran family soon realized they needed an astronomer, not a contractor, to fully explain what damaged their house.
Scientists determined it was a meteorite that crashed through the roof of their central New Jersey home more than a week ago.
While extraterrestrial rocks fall to the Earth with some regularity, it is rare for them to strike homes.
“The fact that something from outer space hit our house … it’s overwhelming,” said Shankari Nageswaran in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. [Link]
p>Apparently the grandma heard sounds in the bathroom that didn’t sound like those she typically associated with her son:
On the night of Jan. 2, Nageswaran walked into his bathroom and spotted a hole in the ceiling and noticed small chunks of drywall and insulation littering the room.
His mother, who has been staying with the family, recalled that she had heard a loud boom and thought it was a post-New Year’s fireworks explosion. But that didn’t explain the mess in the bathroom. [Link]
p>Turns out it is an iron meteorite, a type of find that scientists love for what it tells us about the origins of our solar system. Think of these objects as the left-over construction material after all the houses (the planets) were built.
About 50 meteorites reach the Earth’s surface each year, but with humans occupying only a small part of the planet, there is only one report every year or two of meteorites hitting buildings, said Tim McCoy, curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s meteorite collection.
Every meteorite serves as a “poor man’s space probe,” yielding information on how the solar system formed, McCoy said.
“There’s been fewer than 5,000 meteorites found over the surface of the Earth in the recorded history of mankind,” McCoy said. “Every time we get a new one, it’s an important event…” [Link]