The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum wants to add to its collection, which includes moon and Mars rocks, said Darryl Pitt, chair of the meteorite division at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel., so the first meteorite hunters to deliver a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) specimen will claim the $25,000 prize.
NASA says four radar sweeps detected “signatures consistent with falling meteorites seen at the time and location reported by eyewitnesses,” and people also heard sonic booms.
It's the first time radar spotted a meteorite fall in Maine, the space agency said.
The unusually bright fireball could be seen in broad daylight around noon Saturday, April 8, said Pitt.
The meteorites likely impacted across a swath of ground spanning from the town of Waite, Maine, to Canoose, New Brunswick. According to NASA, the largest specimens will be strewn at the west end of the debris field, closest to Waite — about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Portland.
Locating a softball-sized space rock in the wilderness may be similar to finding a needle in a haystack: Pitt said the estimated area where the meteorites hit is about 1.6km wide and stretches for 16-19 km, all the way into Canada.
The museum is asking aspiring meteorite hunters to brush up on what meteorites look like before searching, so they know what they’re looking for, and avoid private property unless they have permission.