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Maine museum offers $25,000 for space rock fragments


If you're listening from the northeastern U.S. and you're looking for an excuse to get outside, here's an activity that might even make you some money.


The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum is offering a $25,000 reward for a hunk of the space rock that came hurtling to Earth over the weekend. The meteorite triggered a sonic boom and caused a fireball so bright it was visible in broad daylight from parts of Canada and Maine.

LIMBONG: Now, if you're wondering where to look, NASA has mapped out a trail based on radar data. Here's Darryl Pitt, who heads the meteorite division at the museum.

DARRYL PITT: The meteorites can be found in what's a really well-defined and constrained ellipse that's about a mile, a mile and a half wide that extends from Waite, Maine, to Canoose, New Brunswick.

SUMMERS: Now, Pitt says obtaining a meteorite that actually landed in Maine would be a great addition to the museum's roughly 2,000 space rocks.

LIMBONG: So how do you tell a space rock from a regular old rock?

PITT: They typically are black. They have a smooth exterior surface. It's toasted as a result of frictional heating with the atmosphere. It might have a slightly stippled (ph) surface, typically attracted to magnets.

LIMBONG: And you got to act fast. The $25,000 reward will go to the first person to bring in a fragment weighing at least one kilogram - that's about 2.2 pounds - though the museum will buy some smaller chunks, too.

SUMMERS: Just remember to ask permission before you look on private property.

LIMBONG: Happy meteorite hunting.

(SOUNDBITE OF ED SHEERAN SONG, "EYES CLOSED") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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