On June 2, 2018, a meteor crashed in Botswana, on the border with South Africa. According to NASA, when it collided with Earth’s atmosphere, it was nearly two meters in diameter and was traveling at 45,000 kilometers per hour. Upon entering it, it collapsed and hit the ground like a piece of black rock.
“This meteorite is a national treasure of Botswana,” Mohotsiwa Gabadroy, chief trustee of the Botswana Institute of Earth Sciences, said in a statement.
The peculiarity of this object is that it was the first that we could anticipate the effect. Scientists have identified the asteroid for the first time using the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey, which tracks asteroids as part of NASA’s Planetary Defense Program.
“This is only the second time that we observe an asteroid in space before it hits Earth on Earth,” Jenniskins said. “The first was asteroid TC3 in 2008 in Sudan ten years ago.”
After analyzing the meteorite samples, researchers at the University of Helsinki determined that it belonged to Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Vista has a diameter of about 525 kilometers.
“Billions of years ago, two gigantic collisions at Vista created a larger and more dangerous family of asteroids. The newly recovered meteorites gave us an idea of when those collisions happened,” said study author Peter Jenniskins.
The impact is believed to have occurred about 4.2 billion years ago. A third of those meteorites that reached Earth were ejected from the asteroid about 22 million years ago.
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