Asteroid fragment found in Botswana’s Kalahari Game Reserve

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 10 July 2018, 04:51 PM
Fragment of impacting asteroid discovered in Botswana’s Kalahari Game Reserve (Representative image)
Fragment of impacting asteroid discovered in Botswana’s Kalahari Game Reserve (Representative image)

A fragment of asteroid was discovered in Botswana’s Kalahari Game Reserve by an international team of scientists.

The meteorite is one of the fragments of asteroid 2018 LA, which collided with Earth on June 2, 2018 and turned into a meteor fireball that detonated over Botswana a few seconds after entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Who discovered asteroid 2018 LA?

Asteroid 2018 LA was discovered eight hours before hitting the earth by the scientists of University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey, sponsored by NASA as a part of its Planetary Defence mission.

The asteroid burst through the upper atmosphere and resulted in a meteor fireball.

After disruption, the asteroid fragments were blown away by the wind while falling, scattering over a wide area.

Calculations of the landing area were done independently by the NASA sponsored group headed by Peter Jenniskens, a subject expert of the NASA-sponsored SETI Institute in California, as well as Esko Lyytinen and Jarmo Moilanen of the Finnish Fireball Network (FFN).

When was the first meteorite found?

The first meteorite was found on June 23, 2018, after five days of walking and scouting around by a team of geoscientists from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST), the Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) and from ORI, guided by Jenniskens.

Who spotted the asteroid first?

BUIST student Lesedi Seitshiro was the first to spot the asteroid.

Why is asteroid discovery important?

Asteroid has enormous scientific value and it allows to better calibrate the so-called “Earth Defense” against impacting asteroids.

“This meteorite is a priceless piece of rock that the people of Botswana will want to enjoy seeing on display for generations to come,” a senior curator of the Botswana Geoscience Institute Mohutsiwa Gabadirwe said.

This is the third time in history that an asteroid inbound to hit Earth was detected early and only the second time that asteroid fragments were recovered.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Monday, July 09, 2018 03:44 PM
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