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Space Rock Scavenger Hunt

Posted: April 17, 2023

Find a space rock in the Maine forest? You might get a $25,000 reward.

Meteorites crashed to Earth. They landed near Maine’s border with Canada. Now the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum wants people to look for them.

The first meteorite hunters to deliver a 2.2-pound rock will claim the prize. That rock could be about the size of a softball.

Darryl Pitt works with meteorites. He says the museum wants to add to its collection. It already has some Moon and Mars rocks. It even has the largest Mars rock on Earth!

Still, there might not be any meteorites big enough to earn the award.

People saw an unusually bright fireball around noon on April 8. Eyewitnesses reported the falling meteor. NASA says its radar spotted signs at the same time and place. People also heard sonic booms.

Want to be part of the hunt? The meteorites likely fell in the area between the town of Waite, Maine, and Canoose, New Brunswick. According to NASA, the largest pieces will be closest to Waite.

But finding a softball-sized space rock won’t be easy. Mr. Pitt says the area where the meteorites hit is about a mile wide and stretches for 10-12 miles.

The museum asks aspiring meteorite hunters to brush up on what meteorites look like before searching. They need to know what they’re looking for. Searchers should also avoid private property unless they have permission.

There’s good news for the meteorite hunters who don’t find the biggest space rock. Mr. Pitt says the museum will also buy other specimens. He said the rocks “could easily be worth their weight in gold.”

You might not be able to find a meteorite. But you can see the annual Lyrid meteor shower this week. The best time to watch will be the night of April 22. Find a dark spot. Try lying on your back with your feet facing east. During the peak, you might see 18 meteors per hour.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. — Psalm 33:6

This map shows the area where the meteorites fell. (AP)