Scientists search for meteorite pieces off Washington coast

05 July, 2018, 10:08 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • The EV Nautilus via Wikimedia Commons

It was a huge meteorite that splashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists are searching for pieces of the meteor that exploded off the Washington coast in March.

On Monday, NASA's curator of cosmic dust, Marc Fries, will lead the hunt in the waters off Grays Harbor County.

Now, around 4 months later, Fries along with a team of marine scientists have planned to take these chunks of meteorite out of the ocean.


"This one is special", said Fries. He claimed that these meteorite fragments are quite different. NASA, however, feel that this mission is worth the trouble and effort. "This one is tougher than your typical meteor".

Dr. Fries pinpointed the meteor on weather NEXRAD Doppler radar along with weather buoys and observers accounts of the falling meteorites.

Most meteorites break apart and either simply disintegrate in the atmosphere or explode in the air, rarely ever do meteors make it to the ground. However, to understand this celestial object completely, the researchers have to rescue fragments of it from under the ocean for further analysis.

NASA is also involved in this because meteorites are unique space rocks that can "tell' a lot of information of their origins". The investigations even pointed out that the largest meteorite chunks could most expectantly weigh around 9.7 pounds (4.4 kilograms) with a width of nearly twelve centimeters (4.7 inches). Named after the submarine of Captain Nemo in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus is an exploration vessel operated by the nonprofit organization Ocean Exploration Trust. "It's a great opportunity for us because it's such an interesting, pure exploration type mission", said Nicole Raineault, vice president of exploration and science.

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