A Brief History
On October 9, 1992, an unidentified flying object (UFO) crashed in a driveway in Peekskill, New York, crushing the trunk of the 1980 Chevy Malibu that was parked there.
The UFO did not remain unidentified for long; it turned out to be a 26-pound meteorite that had fallen in the area, an event caught on video by at least 16 people and witnessed by thousands more in several US states as a “huge, greenish fireball.” Since it was a Friday night, plenty of camcorders were already filming high school football games when the meteorite passed.
It was a foot in diameter and hit the car at only 164 mph, having been slowed down by the atmosphere. Becoming known as the Peekskill Meteorite, the extraterrestrial object was estimated to be 4.4-billion years old and thought to have been produced by 2 asteroids colliding with each other.
The meteorite was sold for $69,000, and the unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate…) owner of the Malibu, a teenaged girl, sold her car for $10,000, 25 times what she had paid for it. History and Headlines Trivia: The 1980 Chevy Malibu had recently been purchased for $400, making it possibly the fastest appreciating car in history.
The car and a large chunk of the meteorite are now on display in the Macovich Collection of Meteorites in New York City. Smaller pieces of the meteorite sell for $125 a gram. The Chicago’s Field Museum, the American National History Museum and the Smithsonian have smaller pieces in their collections. The car, itself, has traveled the world and has been featured in meteorite circles and in galleries as artwork created by “alien hands.”
Even if you dismiss the chance of an alien spacecraft landing on your property, there always is the realistic possibility that a meteorite could your house, your car or even you. As demonstrated by the Peekskill Meteorite, it has happened before and will surely happen again; it is just a question of when and where.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever found a meteorite? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
For another interesting event that happened on October 9, please read the History and Headlines article: “Inspirational Women of the Modern Time.”
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For more information, please see…
Rotaru, Monica, Brigitte Zanda, et al. Meteorites: Their Impact on Science and History. Cambridge University Press, 2001.