Space object found in the drivewayThe path of the private home of the couple Rob and Catherine Wilcock, who live in the town of Winchcombe in the west of Great Britain, may contain clues to some of the mysteries of the formation of the solar system. The landing of the meteorite was recorded on February 28, when thousands of residents of Gloucestershire watched the fireball fall.
The Wilcocks were awakened by the noise of the night, butto discern the details of the event in front of the house was prevented by pitch darkness. In the morning, the British found several dark stones and handfuls of dust on the driveway. The remains of the meteorite were collected in a plastic bag. The pieces of stone are the size of small balls and resemble the structure of barbecue briquettes, said Monica Grady, astronomer scientist from the Open University, who was called to the scene.
The meteorite is classified as carbonaceouschondrite, which is a unique piece of space debris older than some of the planets in the solar system. This type of rock formed about 4.5 billion years ago and has not changed much since then. Of the 65,000 meteorites in collections around the world, only 51 are of the same type as found at Winchcombe. It is also the first celestial body of this type to land in the United Kingdom.
The texture of the stone resembles soft clay, whichscientists explain the presence of ice in its composition in the early stages of life. This also makes it very fragile. Probably, the meteorite was able to "survive" the fall through the Earth's atmosphere only because it was falling at a speed of just over 46,670 km per hour (29 thousand miles per hour). This speed is relatively slow, since most of the meteorites fall to the Earth at a speed of 5 times greater. Scientists were able to collect about 300 grams of meteorite material in Gloucestershire. Landing of a meteorite on the territory of the United Kingdom was the first after an almost 30-year hiatus.