An English family has been in awe to find themselves at the center of a major scientific discovery that has left scientists weak on their knees, as their driveway has been struck by the most valuable space rock to ever fall on Britain.
In late February, in the home she shares with her mom and dad, Hannah Wilcock heard a thudding thud outside her window.
He looked outside to see where the sounds were coming from, but because it was dark he couldn’t see what it was about.
Your first guess? Someone in the Cotswolds must be driving around and dumping lumps of coal in people’s driveways for some reason.
He went and talked to his mom, Cathryn. Given the recent mild weather, they decided that maybe a disposable charcoal grill had been thrown out.
That could explain the strange sounds.
Of course, it was neither of those things.
What was hitting their Gloucestershire home was, in fact, carbonaceous chondrite, a dark, stony material that preserves the unaltered chemistry of the formation of our Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.
When Open University planetary scientist Richard Greenwood looked at the Wilcocks’ photo of what had landed outside their front door, he was impressed and was soon sent to take a look.
“It was one of those moments where the legs start to shake,” he told the BBC. “I saw this thing; it was like a splash [the] handle; and it had all these rays coming out of it; and I thought, that’s a meteor. It was instantaneous. “
Such a rare find could fetch high prices from a collector, but the Wilcock family would rather have serendipitous ‘lumps of coal’ in their backyard go to science rather than collector’s shelves.
After all, these meteors could give scientists real new insights into how our planet was born.
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