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Meteorite Hits Girl 505

Posted by chrisd
from the hopefully-not-a-prologue dept.
redcliffe writes "The BBC has a story about a 14 year old North Yorkshire girl who was hit, on the foot, by a meteorite. Where's Bruce Willis when you need him?" The young Miss Carlton notes: "This does not happen that often in Northallerton"; no doubt the City of York is where most meteorites land.
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Meteorite Hits Girl

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  • by huphtur (259961) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:11AM (#4161440)
    like nasa? or fcc? or riaa?
    • God? How would you server the papers? And what lawyer would take on God? Well... I take that last one back.
      • by N3WBI3 (595976) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:18AM (#4161474) Homepage
        I dont think the problem would be finding a layer to take on God (as they all think they are God), I think the problem is where is God going to get a layer in heaven?
        • Ok, you asked for it, here's the link [netfunny.com]
          • by Qrlx (258924) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @02:06AM (#4161680) Homepage Journal
            http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/02/Apr/marriage. html
            Marriage in Heaven
            eyesbright@aol.comedienne (Randy Russell)
            AOL http://www.aol.com
            (chuckle, heard it)

            On their way to get married, a young couple are involved in a fatal car accident. The couple find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven.

            While waiting, they begin to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven? When St. Peter shows up, they asked him. St. Peter says, "I don't know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out," and he leaves.

            The couple sat and waited for an answer. . . . for a couple of months. While they waited, they discussed that IF they were allowed to get married in Heaven, SHOULD they get married, what with the eternal aspect of it all.

            "What if it doesn't work?" they wondered, "Are we stuck together FOREVER?"

            After yet another month, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled. "Yes," he informs the couple, "you CAN get married in Heaven."

            "Great!" said the couple, "But we were just wondering, what if things don't work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?"

            St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slams his clipboard to the ground.

            "What's wrong?" asked the frightened couple.

            "OH, COME ON!!" St. Peter shouts, "It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have ANY idea how long it'll take me to find a lawyer?"
        • "I dont think the problem would be finding a layer to take on God (as they all think they are God), I think the problem is where is God going to get a layer in heaven?"

          I dunno, but it would probably take almost as long as it would to find a lawyer in heaven ;-) I mean really, I bet the firewall at the pearly gates blocks all .ho domains.


    • Sue that butterly which flapped it's wings a million years ago.
    • Did anyone else think of the B5 episode where some guy is sueing an alien because his grandfather was abducted by the alien's grandfather?

      Is anyone at home and so can look up the reference?
  • by Cryptnotic (154382) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:12AM (#4161446) Homepage

    she was walking all alone
    down the street in the alley
    her name was sally
    she never saw it
    when she was hit by space junk
    in new york miami beach
    heavy metal fell in cuba
    angola saudi arabia
    on xmas eve said norad
    a soviet sputnik hit africa
    india venezuela (in texas kansas)
    it's falling fast peru too
    it keeps coming
    and now i'm mad about space junk
    i'm all burned out about space junk
    oooh walk & talk about space junk
    it smashed my baby's head
    and now my sally's dead


    No. Not really. Those are the lyrics to the Devo song, "Space Junk".

  • by unsinged int (561600) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:20AM (#4161481)
    "I saw it fall from above roof height," Siobhan told BBC News Online.

    And it hit her foot. Man, I see an unidentified object coming at me from above roof height and I'm getting out of the way. I'll figure out what it is later.

    But then I guess no one would write about that...
  • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:20AM (#4161482)
    So far in the last year we've had:

    - Mozilla 1.0 released

    - A story on Slashdot about how a guy switched from Linux back to Windows, XP no less

    - I got a girlfriend. (I'm man enough to admit that's not easy when you play with computers for a living)

    - Nintendo launch two game systems plus a highly anticipated title ON TIME

    - A girl getting hit by a meteorite

    Yeesh. What a year.
  • by Myco (473173) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:20AM (#4161483) Homepage
    1. Get a rock
    2. Say it's a meteorite that hit you on the foot.
    3. BBC believes you, publishes goofy photo of you holding your "meteorite"
    4. ???
    5. Profit

    Alternately, all your beowulf cluster of meteorite are belong to us.

    Yeah, that should about cover it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Now if you had just mentioned 9/11 somehow, I could have won SlashBingo on one foul swoop. Perhaps "Iraq testing meteorites as weapons of mass desctruction".
    • Don't forget to bake it in the oven first.

      1. Get a rock

      2. Say it's a meteorite that hit you on the foot.

      3. BBC believes you, publishes goofy photo of you holding your "meteorite"

      4. ???

      5. Profit

  • by Bonker (243350) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:20AM (#4161485)
    ...Hillary Rosen or Jack Valenti mention that the mp3 format or P2P file-sharing networks may not be as evil as the dripping semen of Beelzebub. ...Stallman accidentally says 'Linux' in a moment of pique rather than 'Gnu/Linux'. ...The software or media industry creates an truly uncrackable format for copy-protecting the data on CD's ...Taco posts a story to the front page of Slashdot without a single spelling error on his part. ...Natalie Portman does not run screaming from anything that looks remotely like a nerd. ...A new Slashdot reader goes six months without perma-filtering JonKatz.

  • I dunno, I somehow doubt this would be legit, I'd expect the asteroid to come out of the sky going a lot faster - hell, terminal velocity for a human body is like 400kph (could be mph / completely wrong), this thing would probably have a lot less drag and I'm sure that you wouldnt be able to see it fall. Any physics people want to correct me?
    I wonder if this is like me holding quarters about a lighter for 30 seconds and throwing them in a crowd. . . not that I've ever done that. . .

    I find it kinda cool that nobody (*in recorded history*) has ever been killed by a meteorite.
    If you're bored, /. this guy's server and kill some asteroids.
    http://www.brudirect.com/LighterSide/G ames/game%20 asteroid%20shower.htm
    • I would have also thought that a meteorite would plough into whatever it hit and bury itself, but maybe not. When I was about 8 years old, I found a meteorite laying on the grass in front of our house. It was the iron type and quite heavy for its size (a bit less than an inch across). Unfortunately, it got lost in a move a few years later. :(

      In other weird stuff in the sky, a few years ago I happened to see an incoming meteor (magnesium by the brilliance) that in the few seconds it was visible, was large enough to show a disk to the naked eye, and it lit up the landscape about the same as would a major lightning strike. Good thing it burned up on the way down :)

      BTW, there've been a few cases of people who fell off a building, and at least one who fell out of an airplane, and survived a long fall with minimal injuries. It's a bird.. it's a plane... *splat*

      • I've seen a couple of those. From what I've read a meteorite large enough to appear that size is actually about the size of a soccer ball.
    • by LMCBoy (185365) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:39AM (#4161573) Homepage Journal
      I find it kinda cool that nobody (*in recorded history*) has ever been killed by a meteorite.

      I always thought that too, but while googling for a picture of the Peekskill Meteorite car [nyrockman.com], I stumbled on this page [branchmeteorites.com], which shows at least three separate incidents where a person was killed by a meteorite. None have happened recently, though.

      • I like this quote from that page
        September 5, 1907 Hsin-p ai Wei, Weng-li, China A whole family was reportedly crushed by a meteorite. Now, if that isn't bad luck. Besides how friggin big was the damn thing? A whole family?
    • (* I'd expect the asteroid to come out of the sky going a lot faster - hell, terminal velocity for a human body is like 400kph *)

      It is probably hard to say without more analysis of that particular rock. The atmosphere slows rocks down. How much the atmosphere slowed it depends on a lot of factors like its orginal speed, angle of entry, composition, shape, etc.

      It is possible that it was falling at a regular "dropping" velocity once slowed to the minimum for the atmospheric drag. IOW, lost almost all of its "space" velocity.

      Gotta love our atmosphere.
    • Terminal velocity (Score:3, Informative)

      by ciurana (2603)
      d00D,

      Terminal velocity for an average human body is only about 110 mi/h, or about 175 km/h, give or take a few ds/dt. Maybe top off at 200 mi/h if you really try.

      A meteorite might go a bit faster, provided it is somewhat round. It will also be rather hot due to friction.

      I thought I'd share this with you.

      Cheers!

      E
      • A meteorite might go a bit faster

        Not necessarily. Gravitational pull is proportional to mass, drag is proportional to area. Mass grows at 3rd power, area at 2nd power. Therefore smaller objects fall more slowly in an atmosphere.
    • by NeMon'ess (160583) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <dimxnilf>> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @06:27AM (#4162203) Homepage Journal
      From an issue of Maxim:

      Someone wrote in asking if a penny dropped from the empire state building could kill someone on the ground. A physicist contacted by Maxim suggested fastening g a length of string to the penny and holding it out the window of a moving car. When the penny is at 45 degrees, check the spedometer and that is a very rough estimate of the object's terminal velocity. Maxim's penny only had a rough terminal velocity of 16mph. The metorite could be similar. We still don't know its speed entering the atmosphere and how long it took to fall through.
    • I find it kinda cool that nobody (*in recorded history*) has ever been killed by a meteorite.

      I guess that depends if you buy into the theory that a meteorite caused the last ice age and wiped out most life on the planet...
  • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:24AM (#4161505) Homepage
    From the article: .Noticing it was "quite hot", she showed it to her father Niel.

    The problem with this is that meteors are not hot. See this link [spacescience.com] and this one. [thursdaysclassroom.com] From the first link:

    Objects from space that enter Earth's atmosphere are -- like space itself -- very cold and they remain so even as they blaze a hot-looking trail toward the ground. "The outer layers are warmed by atmospheric friction, and little bits flake away as they descend," explains Yeomans. This is called ablation and it's a wonderful way to remove heat. (Some commercial heat shields use ablation to keep spacecraft cool when they re-enter Earth's atmosphere.) "Rocky asteroids are poor conductors of heat," Yeomans continued. "Their central regions remain cool even as the hot outer layers are ablated away."

    And from the second:

    Are asteroids hot or cold as they descend through Earth's atmosphere? (Level II, They are cold as they enter and remain so even as they blaze a hot-looking trail toward the ground. The outer layers are warmed by friction and little bits flake away as they descend.)

    So I suppose it is part of abilated material if it is real, that would explain why it was hot. That would probably still make it a meteor. It might also explain why she still owns her foot.

    • How many times must you cut and paste the word before you realize that "ablation" is not spelled with the letter "i"?

      A-B-L-A-T-I-O-N
      A-B-L-A-T-E-D :)
    • Ever hear the phrase "Don't believe everything you read"?

      The sources you quote are a lot of rehashed BS. Note how the wording is nearly identical in each. Obviously copied by someone who doesn't have a clue about physics... (probably just a Ph.D. ;)

      "... very cold and they remain so even as they blaze a hot-looking trail ..."

      hot-looking??? Just what do they think is causing all that bright white light to be given off anyway? It's called BLACK BODY RADIATION! It means that the surface of the object emitting the light is thousands of degrees. The specific temperature can be determined directly from the light's most intensely emitted frequency.

      Most meteorites litterally burn up in the atmosphere on re-entry, leaving at mosts tiny specs that fall as dust. These are solid rock and iron and their surfaces don't just flake off like a piece of pie crust.

      Now, the core temperature of the object and it's temperature on impact is another matter, but those quotes are WAY off base.

  • 4. Profit! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:26AM (#4161513) Homepage Journal

    It is just this kind of mishap that will finally allow my Meteor Insurance business to take off.
  • by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:27AM (#4161521)
    Funny stuff...

    According to a site that chronicles the history of meteorite attacks [branchmeteorites.com], there's a lot of wierd things than meteorites end up hitting...cows, horses, cars, farmers, etc.

  • by seanadams.com (463190) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:30AM (#4161541) Homepage
    I wonder if
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kreyg (103130) <kreyg@ s h a w.ca> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:47AM (#4161601) Homepage
    The stone could have come from Mars, according to expert on Earth impacts Dr Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University.

    What was the purpose of this paragraph? It just comes out of nowhere, and the subject abruptly dropped. Is there some reason to believe it might be from Mars, rather than, say, anywhere else? Does it matter? Was the reporter concerned that the Martians were hurling rocks at little girls' feet?

    It just struck me as though this reporter didn't have the faintest clue what they were reporting on, but remembered some buzz about meteors from Mars a few years back...
    • Yeah, I was slightly amused by that too. By reading the picture texts, you didn't get too much confidence in the article: "I saw it fall from above roof height" and "The stone may have come from Mars"... *sigh* :-)
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Zarf (5735) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @02:39AM (#4161748) Journal
      The stone could have come from Mars, according to expert on Earth impacts Dr Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University

      I speculate, aswell, that the stone could be the fore-front of the Martian Invasion of Earth! To arms, to arms! The Martians are coming! The Martians are coming!

      By the way of England of course. Was it three if by air and four if by space?
    • Indeed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Scooter (8281)
      I agree - it's the worst type of superficial repetitive "journalism" - just repeating the headline over and over with increasing numbers of filler words - the BBC should know better.

      You kno what happens - they phone some guy in a University and repeatedly ask "could it have come from Mars?" "Well yeah - I guess" says the guy (thinking "it could have come from anywhere - I haven't seen it, have no idea of it;s composition, but I can't say no") Next thing, he's being quoted in some half arsed article as saying "it could have come from Mars"

      You gotta laff at TV news programmes (it may be on a web site but the BBC is a TV outfit)- they never tell you anything but the obvious.

    • The stone could have come from Mars, according to expert on Earth impacts Dr Benny Peiser, of Liverpool John Moores University.

      The stone could be a charcoal briquette that fell off the roof next door--the college students in the adjacent building were having one last barbecue before going back to school.

      One of the students was being severely beaten by his friends for posting a message to Slashdot containing the phrase "3. Profit!!!". When his head hit the grill, the briquette was ejected over the edge of the roof.

  • It was a girl. Hmmmm.

    I have read that males are something like 3 times more likely to get hit by lightning than females.

    One theory is that men are more likely to have outdoor jobs (ranger, cop, ditch digger, etc.)

    Another theory is that men are too bull-headed to come in from storms.
  • Going by the standards of metiorites this one is *big* considering most are dust spec sized. But the fact is if such a metiorite comes to earh and hits it will burn a long long hole.
    Now even if some argues that it was slowed down by air, still it could have a terminal verlocity of 120Lm/hr atleast and it would be damn hot. It would burn a hole right through her foot!
    PRobably it is something else.
  • "In a related story, a man broke into a local astronomy museum and smashed the glass on the meteorite exhibits and started pounding the contents. Police said he was claiming retaliation for 'that poor little girl's foot'."

    Promise you won't ask me to verify this story.

    The dynosours are still pissed also, I bet.
  • Impossible (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xavier000 (449480)
    How is this possible? I remember reading about a meteorite that hit a dam in Australia a few years ago. It evaporated the lake, and when scientists sifted through the mud, the meteorite was only the size of a marble.

    Remembering my high school physics, all things of the same mass will fall through the earth at the same speed, assuming they are aeorodynamically equivalent, beccause they have the same terminal velocity.

    This girl's foot would be pulverised if it was hit by some space junk of that size that had just fallen through earth's atmosphere.
    It seems obvious that this is not a meteorite at all. If it was, she would probably only have one leg. The only slim possibility I can imagine, is if the meteorite was so full of bubbles that it came to earth with the characteristics of foam. Unlikely given the photo they have shown.
    • This is not the first time a meteorite hit a person, and the person survived.

      It depends on the mass of the meteorite. Too small and it burns up. Too big and it creates a tourist trap in Arizona. But at the right mass, it will hit like a rock dropped from an airplane. That's because the atmosphere will slow it down. It WILL hurt when it hits. But it's entirely possible that it can hit a girl's foot without removing it.

      But what about your high school physic's teacher? He too busy reading physics texts and not enough time looking at the real world. In college we performed the classic physics experiment that no one ever performs: we dropped a watermelon and a grape from the top of a building. The standard physics text says that they will both hit at the same time. But the watermelon hit first! I leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out why...
  • Apparently, this [positron-press.co.uk] is the only documented case in which a meteorite has hit someone. Now, that must hurt!
    • (* Apparently, this [positron-press.co.uk] is the only documented case in which a meteorite has hit someone. Now, that must hurt! *)

      I don't mean to be cruel, for I could use the same advice, but if that lady in the hospital photo lost a some weight, it looks like the stone would have *missed* her rather large tummy.

      The physics are simple: Bigger people are bigger targets.

      Perhaps we should start sleeping standing up to present a smaller target profile area. Our foil hats will stay on better that way also.
      • I don't mean to be cruel, for I could use the same advice, but if that lady in the hospital photo lost a some weight, it looks like the stone would have *missed* her rather large tummy.

        The physics are simple: Bigger people are bigger targets.


        In high energy physics, a particle with a lot of mass tends to have more of something with call cross-section, analagous to a size you give a physical ball. So you are saying this woman is a high energy particle? Can I throw neutrons at her? Will they bounce back and hit me in the face, just like in Thompson scattering?
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @02:12AM (#4161693) Homepage Journal

    From the meteorite's perspective, it got hit by a fast-moving girl.

    Imagine being a rock drifting thru space. (Don't tell my boss, but I do it all day).

    Out of nowhere a big blue ball appears and keeps getting bigger and bigger until a human foot smacks you right in the keaster.

    The daily newspaper for meteorites, The Rock Chronicles[1], right now probably has a story running titled, "Human Foot Hits Citizen".

    [1] I don't know if they have "Rolling Stone" there.
  • "I saw it fall from above roof height,"


    Hmmmmmmmmm. *evil grin*

    If you will excuse me, I need to get a bucket of volcanic rocks, and climb up on my neighbor's roof.
  • Or Poop on a stick? [asteroidmodels.com]
  • I'm getting far too cynical in my old age, but I just don't believe it. First, as the article pointed out, the odds are huge. I'd like to think this was a scientist teaching his daughter how easily the foolish media is manipulated. Eg. Like Joey Skaggs [joeyskaggs.com] does. The meteorite in the picture appears to be about the size of her 14 year old thumb. She states: "I saw it fall from above roof height". We don't know her height, and the distance to the roof, so we can't calculate the arc tangent. Let's say she was staring into the sky with her head tilted at a 60 degrees angle upwards. (an odd angle for a head to be at). Also, her head was also staring in the CORRECT direction (360 degrees) and SPOTTED the meteorite, and still it hit her?
    Hmmm. Kids do like to exaggerate when something happens to them. Possible, but astronomically unprobable.
  • Wouldn't this thing have easily pierced through her foot and kept going into the ground with some momentum to spare? I guess she could have been wearing steel-toed boots, but I seriously doubt it. I'm slightly skeptical of this, as it probably should have destroyed her foot.
  • News? (Score:2, Funny)

    by mblumber (267394)
    Dog bites man: Not news.
    Man bites dog: News.
    Meteorite hits girl: Not news.
    Girl falls from sky, hits meteorite: Now there's a story!
  • When I first read the subject line, I thought "woah, someone actually got wasted by an intergalatic rock". Then I find out some 14 year-old got hit by a rock the size of a peanut and we're all supposed to find that interesting?

    Where's the interesting news?

  • August 24, 2002

    A small girl fell up from Bizzaro today striking and obliterating a large meteor. Debris from the impact is expected to reach Earth sometime next week.
  • Imagine getting hit by a beowoulf cluster of these...
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plaa (29967) <sampo.niskanenNO@SPAMiki.fi> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @05:28AM (#4162078) Homepage
    In a newspaper here in Finland it said it fell at her feet, not that it actually hit her. I'd say it's quite probable it didn't hit her, but the reporter streched the story a bit to give it a better twing. When you read the article, it very quickly gets over the point of it actually hitting her.

    Also (as mentioned in another comment) the point of it being from Mars is totally bogus. Probably the "expert" they interviewed mentioned that some meteorites can come from Mars, and the reporter immediately picked it up, saying "The stone may have come from Mars."
  • About the only documented meteorite/human collision from 10 FUN THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND SYLACAUGA [sylacauga.net]

    "In 1954, Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was napping on her couch, was awakened very suddenly when a meteorite penetrated her roof and struck her on the thigh. The Hodges or Sylacauga meteorite, which weighs 8.5 pounds and is 7 by 5 inches in diameter, can be viewed in replica form at the museum. The original is in the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Sylacauga is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records since this is the only case of a meteorite hitting a living person."

    Althoug she was not hit directly. The meteorite bounced of some other junk in her house before striking her.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @05:55AM (#4162140) Homepage
    Let's see if I've got this right:

    No corroborating evidence at all except the word of the adolescent girl herself. Nobody else saw it. Nobody but she can testify that it was warm.

    They say they "plan" to have the stone analyzed by scientists, but it hasn't happened yet.

    Even the scientist couldn't prove that someone hadn't warmed up a meteorite and pitched it over the rooftops.

    I have no doubt Charles Fort would put this in his newspaper clippings file, but the only thing that's remarkable about this to me is that the BBC would publish it.

    I bet a nickel that there's never even any followup story reporting on any scientist's report on the meteorite. I can just see the family in their car on their way to the university and the embarrassed kid 'fesses up.

    • by T-Punkt (90023)
      > Nobody but she can testify that it was warm.

      Actually this is the #1 reason I don't think she was hit by this meteorite - it's a common missconception that meteorites are hot when they hit the earth. There's an FAZ article [faz.com] about common myths about meteorites.

      The #2 reason: Even a small piece of iron/rock like this, falling from more than 100m height surely would break a girl's foot if it hits it.

      My guess: She bought the meteorite via internet and maybe it fell on her foot when she opened the package...
  • by __davep (75685)
    no doubt the City of York is where most Meteorites land

    Some people seem to think so. Sadly, such impacts generally turn out to have far more mundane explanations [bbc.co.uk].

    • "First time player wins the lottery"
    • "The Cubs take the pennant"
    • "The RIAA decides to back off on all future requests for digital rights management"
    • "Microsoft calls it quits, gives up willingly to the DOJ"
    • "Moderators create a new category for this post: brilliant"
  • ... back when I was in high school, there was a local story about a meteorite landing in the back yard of this guy in London, Ontario. They even interviewed a geologist from the local University of Western Ontario who said he was 75% certain it was a meteorite. Later he retracted his comment: [top.net.nz]

    Blob no meteorite
    A strange blob that an expert believed plummeted
    from the heavens suddenly became less alien yesterday
    after it was found to be a lump of asphalt covered
    with paint. "I'm kind of embarrassed," said David
    Dilon, a member of the University of Western
    Ontario's geology department, who said he had been 75
    percent certain the object was a meteorite.

  • Hmmmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by pr0t3uS (586517)
    If she turns into the METEOR GIRL Hollywood will probably sue her for copyright violation. [hollywood.com]
  • Well... why are we always told these things 'may have come from mars'. It may also have come from Earth, or any other chunk of rock floating about out there.

    Hey - it might have come from mars - it might be a fossilised martian poop!
  • I was listening to NPR this morning, and they interviewed the girl by phone, and on the phone she said that once they get it authenticated they plan to sell it at a London auction because it's "very valuable".

    The story on the BBC says they intend to put it in a glass case and keep it forever.

    Wonder how it will really turn out...
  • "Sometimes they have shallow depressions and cavities," he said.

    Now, are we talking about the British or the meteorites? ;)

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