A team of UK scientists, including a researcher from the University of Plymouth, has recovered pieces of an extremely rare meteorite, the like of which has never fallen anywhere in the UK before.
Dr Natasha Stephen, Lecturer in Advanced Analysis (Earth & Planetary Sciences), was part of a collaborative effort to locate and analyse fragments of the meteorite that lit up the sky over the UK and Northern Europe on Sunday 28 February.
Hundreds of pieces of the rare meteorite, known as a carbonaceous chondrite, survived its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and landed in and around the town of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
Specialised cameras located across the country as part of UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll) were able to recreate the flight path, allowing scientists to determine exactly where in the solar system it came from, and predict where it fell.
The original space rock was travelling at nearly 14km per second before hitting the Earth’s atmosphere and the meteorite was retrieved in such a good condition, so quickly after its fall, that it is comparable to the samples returned from space missions, both in quality and quantity.