A piece of the meteorite that hit the Ural mountains in remote Russia, injuring well over a thousand people and destroying property worth millions, may well land up in Kolkata. The city-based SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences is trying to procure one.
“Yes, we’ll be ordering a few specimens. We’re procuring a hi-tech machine that’s needed to analyse the chemicals in these meteorites. Once the machine is procured, we’ll buy some meteorites to analyse their content,” said Sandip Kumar Chakrabarti, head of the astrophysics cosmology department of the institute.
But why only the institute? Even you could buy a piece of the meteorite if you bid successfully on one of the online shopping sites on the Internet, such as eBay.
Russian sites are selling a piece of the coveted stone for as much as 6,500 pounds. On eBay, though, the bidding starts at $4,100.
“Meteorites are much sought-after objects — first because they’re coming from outer space, and, second, since they contain thousands of minerals, metals, alloys and precious metals,” said DP Duari, director (research and academics) of Birla Planetarium.
Sources at online shopping sites say that it is mostly scientists who order such items. But there are many individual collectors who crave for such a stone for their collection.
“A meteorite could reveal several interesting facts about the history and formation of the solar system and space, since they contain chemicals in layers of rocks and stones which haven’t been disturbed for billions of years.
“They’re a kind of time machine for space scientists,” Amitabha Ghosh, NASA scientist , told HT.