Now that the people of Chelyabinsk Russia have had time to regain their composure, it has become a race to gather meteor fragments before they are all gone. There are already people selling them on Ebay for various amounts of money. They can be worth 10 to 40 times their weight in gold. The bigger the chunk the more it’s worth. It comes right down to the simple truth that everyone is a capitalist at heart.
The core of the meteorite is probably at the bottom of lake Chebarkul. I assume that only the scientist will probably get a crack at that since it will be a very challenging recovery operation to remove it from the icy waters of the lake. Technically it’s illegal for the Russian people to export meteorites from what I’ve heard. The Russian government sells them instead and keeps the money. It reminds me of how the state of Florida takes a big portion of the treasure found in its waters along the coast. The number one rule of being a treasure hunter is never tell anybody what you found. You have to keep it for your own collection or very quietly sell it to someone else.
Florida officials are reporting that people are reporting meters like crazy now. Some of them may be bigger than normal, but I suspect most of them are probably average sized meteorites that people normally never bother to a report. During college, I delivered the morning paper every single day for almost two years. From 2:00 AM to 7:00 AM most days. I had a good view of the sky as I walked my paper route. It was not uncommon to see two or three meteorites every single day. Most of them are small. Occasionally I would see one that was brighter and lasted much longer as it when across the sky.
My family even found a very odd rock buried in the front yard of our house about 10 years ago. It’s unlikely that it’s a meteorite, but Florida does not normally have any naturally occurring rocks in that area. Normally you find nothing but sandy soil. This rock is the size of a golf ball. It is somewhat round. It weighs considerably more than a normal rock its size. It has tiny little silver flecks of metal embedded throughout the rock, and it is brown in color.
NASA’s swears up and down that the large asteroid that passed by our planet on the 15th of February had nothing to do with the meteorite that exploded over Russia. In my personal opinion, such a large asteroid was likely to have stragglers following along the same path. I think NASA was just trying to prevent panic and hysteria from breaking out in our country. How many people thought the world was going to end on December 21, 2012? People just need a good excuse to panic.
NASA’s space program may only be a hollow shell of what it once was, but the U.S. Air force has quite an extensive space program. They have a small unmanned vehicle that they use. It looks almost identical to the space shuttle except that it’s tiny compared to the shuttle.