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Valuable Space Rock Crashes Into Oslo Cabin

This meteorite struck the Thomassen family's cabin in Oslo. (Photo: Rune Thomassen)

A family in Oslo got a surprise when they visited their allotment garden cabin for the first time this season and found that a 585-gram (20 oz.) meteorite had ripped a hole through the roof. The space rock was discovered “lying five or six metres away,” the cabin’s owner, Rune Thomassen, told the local newspaper VG.

Such an event is rare in Norway; since 1848 the country has noted only 14 meteorite discoveries.

Astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard from the University of Oslo investigated the report and found it to be genuine.

“You can tell immediately that it’s genuine from the burned crust, and you can also recognize it from how rough and unusual it is. It gives me goosebumps,” Ødegaard told VG.

NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Hans Amundsen noted the meteorite’s unusual composition: “This is a very rare meteorite because you can see from the cut of it that it contains fragments from many different kinds of rock that have cemented together, forming a so-called breccia.”

Such meteorites are caused by previous collisions, cementing together different types of material from impacts with asteroids or planets.This means the meteorite that landed on the Thomassens’ cabin may very well have been blown off the surface of Mars at some point in the distant past!

“This is unique. This is double-unique,” Ødegaard noted to VG.

According to Amundsen, such a meteorite is very valuable to researchers as well as private collectors, who may be willing to pay highly for it. Chunks of Mars have fetched USD $877 per gram in the past… making the Thomassens’ find potentially worth over $500,000!

Norway’s geological museum has the country’s only meteorite collection “and they’re the right ones to determine what kind of meteorite this is,” Amundsen said.

Read more on this story here, and see coverage with photos and video on the VG site here (in Norwegian).

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mike Walker March 12, 2012, 8:43 PM

    At $877/gram, a chunk of Mars is welcome to crash through my roof any time — so long as I’m not home.

  • Skipdallas1 March 13, 2012, 2:50 PM

    The prices people will pay for meteorites are astronomical! :-)

  • Olaf2 March 13, 2012, 10:05 PM

    Is there a reason why the edges are still that sharp?

    • William Sparrow March 14, 2012, 10:04 PM

      I was wondering the same thing. It almost looks like a typical chunk of concrete.

  • alanator March 14, 2012, 9:00 PM

    Now why can`t one of these rare meteorites hit my house? Preferably when I`m not home of course!

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