Most meteorites disappear when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Still, scientists estimate that around 500 meteorites reach the surface of our planet annually. And out of these, only a few are typically discovered by the scientific community. Recently, KING 5 Seattle News reports that one of these rare meteorites was discovered in northeast Oregon. It is a discovery 4.5 billion years in the making.
Don Wesson picked up a “funny-looking rock” on the side of the road 11 years ago. Around the size of a 40-pound basketball, Wesson decided to use the rock to prevent his dog from digging up his garden. The stalwart space object proved successful as a digging deterrent — as Wesson told reporters, “he couldn’t move the rock, so he moved on to another spot.” The space flyer sat in this Oregon garden for more than a decade, at the end of a journey spanning millions of miles.
Then Wesson saw a news report about priceless meteorites. He decided to bring his prized rock to researchers at the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory of Portland State University. Dick Pugh, a meteorite expert, told KINGS 5 that he thought his eyeballs would fall out when he saw the meteorite. According to Pugh, “it’s a piece of the asteroid belt, left over from the formation of the solar system. It’s been 30 years since the last meteorite was discovered in Oregon, and it was tiny in comparison.” Experts think Wesson’s meteorite fell to Earth between 200 to 800 years ago.
How much it is this rare rock worth? Experts on meteorites estimate the value of the “ultimate collectible” asteroid to be between $25,000 and $40,000. Wesson is unsure if he will sell the pricey piece. In the meantime, he has donated samples of the meteorite to Portland State University. Either way, he tells reporters that he is going to keep watching the side of the road.
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