Last June 2, a small asteroid fell to Earth and lit up the sky over Botswana. Now, part of that asteroid has been recovered.
The asteroid, now dubbed as 2018 LA, broke into a few pieces after it had hurtled through space and smacked right into the planet’s atmosphere, where it displayed as a “shooting star” through the dark sky. It had been discovered in space by the Catalina Sky Survey of the University of Arizona some eight hours before it crashed toward Earth.
It then exploded and turned into what’s called a “fireball” meteor, leaving a flash of light as it ran across the sky before skywatchers and the prying eyes of security cameras.
Recovering Another Meteorite
Recently, an international team of researchers from the United States, Finland, and South Africa recovered a piece of the asteroid at the Central Kalahari Game Reserve of Botswana. It was the second fragment found following the first piece found five days after the sky display.
“The biggest uncertainty we faced was to determine where exactly the meteorites fell,” said Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in California who traveled to Botswana to help in the search.
Fragments of the asteroid were scattered over a wide area and were blown by the wind, according to calculations made by Jenniskens’s NASA-sponsored group and the Finnish Fireball Network.