Remnant of 'fireball' meteor found in Botswana

Researchers discovered a "fireball" meteor that was the fragment of asteroid 2018 LA first spotted on June 2, 2018.

Tyler MacDonald | Jul 11, 2018

Researchers just discovered a "fireball" meteor in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). It has been confirmed as the fragment of asteroid 2018 LA that was observed in space on June 2, 2018 by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey.

"The biggest uncertainty we faced was to determine where exactly the meteorites fell," said Peter Jenniskens, a subject expert of the Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in California who assisted in the Botswana search.

After crashing through the Earth's upper atmosphere, it turned into a meteor fireball and exploded a few seconds lateran event that was observed by Botswana and its neighboring countries.

"As geologists from BIUST we see it as our mandate and duty to respond quickly to events like this one and to recover the material, both for research purposes and as part of the heritage of Botswana," said Alexander Proyer, leader of the joint expedition and a member of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST).

"The challenge was to search for a meteorite in 200 square kilometers of uncharted wild in a park teeming with elephants, lions and snakes," he added.

"Meteorites are protected under Botswana law," said Mohutsiwa Gabadirwe, also of the Botswana Geoscience Institute. "This meteorite is a priceless piece of rock that the people of Botswana will want to enjoy seeing on display for generations to come."

The SETI Institute is a non-profit foundation that was founded in 1984 to understand, explore, and explain the nature and origin of life in the universe.

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