CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio/CBS) — Scientists at the Field Museum have begun studying one of the meteorites that recently showered a 2-mile swath of Michigan outside Detroit, and already know where in the Solar System it came from.
The golf ball-sized meteorite was recovered on a frozen pond in Michigan after a fireball lit up the sky on Jan. 16, when a meteor fell to Earth.
Philip Heck, the Field Museum’s Pritzker Associate Curator for Meteorites and Polar studies, has determined where the meteor came from, based on its composition.
“It’s a rocky type of asteroid. Most of them, they orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter,” he said.
Heck said the meteorite is a chondrite, which come from primitive asteroids formed from various types of dust and grains present in the early Solar System.
“I often get the question ‘Why do you study this? Why are you interested in the early Solar System?’ but the early Solar System is particularly important, because the conditions there defined how the Solar System looks like today,” he said.
While scientists have not yet dated the meteorite, it’s likely 4.6 billion years old.
Heck sliced off a section of the shiny black rock, revealing a much different interior made up of minerals now being studied.
Weather radar information helped meteor hunters find the rock and several others in Michigan.