Nav: Home

Fragment of impacting asteroid recovered in Botswana

July 06, 2018

On Saturday, June 23, 2018, a team of experts from Botswana, South Africa, Finland and the United States of America recovered a fresh meteorite in Botswana´s Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The meteorite is one of the fragments of asteroid 2018 LA which collided with Earth on June 2, 2018 and turned into a meteor fireball that detonated over Botswana a few seconds after entering the atmosphere. The incident was witnessed by a number of spectators in Botswana and neighbouring countries and was captured on numerous security cameras.

Asteroid 2018 LA was detected in space eight hours before hitting Earth. It was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey, operated by the University of Arizona and sponsored by NASA as part of its Planetary Defence mission. This is the third time in history that an asteroid inbound to hit Earth was detected early and only the second time that fragments were recovered. After disruption, the asteroid fragments were blown by the wind while falling down, scattering over a wide area. Calculations of the landing area were done independently by a US-based group headed by Peter Jenniskens, a subject expert of the NASA-sponsored SETI Institute in California, as well as Esko Lyytinen and Jarmo Moilanen of the Finnish Fireball Network (FFN).

The first meteorite was found after five days of walking and scouring around by a team of geoscientists from Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST), Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) and University of Botswana´s Okavango Research Institute (ORI). The Department of Wildlife and National Parks granted access and deployed park rangers for protection and participation in the search. The importance of the find is two-fold: It has enormous scientific value and it allows to better calibrate the so-called "Earth Defense" against impacting asteroids.

Jenniskens, who traveled to Botswana to assist in the search, teamed up with Oliver Moses (from ORI), to gather security surveillance videos in Rakops and Maun, to get better constraints on the position and altitude of the fireball´s explosion. Professor Alexander Proyer, from BIUST, led the joint expedition while Mohutsiwa Gabadirwe, BGI senior curator, coordinated access to the protected fall area in the game reserve. Professor Roger Gibson, Head of School at the School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, also assisted in locating the fall area. The meteorite was eventually spotted by BIUST geologist Lesedi Seitshiro. The search for more fragments of the meteorite continues. Dr Fulvio Franchi of BIUST, is leading the follow-up search team joined by Tomas Kohout of the FFN and the University of Helsinki.

Meteorites are protected under Botswana law and samples will be curated by the Botswana National Museum and investigated further by a research consortium of scientists coordinated by Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI).
-end-
For more information and/or media interviews contact:

For the Botswana International University of Science and Technology
Professor Alexander Proyer
proyera@biust.ac.bw
+267 74970205

For the Botswana Geoscience Institute
Mohutsiwa Gabadirwe
gabadirwem@bgi.org.bw
+267 75743475

For the Okavango Research Institute (University of Botswana)
Oliver Moses
omoses@moipi.ub.bw
+267 73370014

For the SETI Institute
Peter Jenniskens
pjenniskens@seti.org

For NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office
Lindley Johnson (Planetary Defense Officer)
lindley.johnson@nasa.gov

For the Finnish Fireball Network and University of Helsinki
Tomas Kohout
tomas.kohout@helsinki.fi
+358504486268

For Wits University
Professor Roger Gibson
roger.gibson@wits.ac.za
+27 82 719 3823

University of Helsinki

Related Asteroid Articles:

An iron-clad asteroid
Mineralogists from Jena and Japan discover a previously unknown phenomenon in soil samples from the asteroid 'Itokawa': the surface of the celestial body is covered with tiny hair-shaped iron crystals.
Asteroid impact enriches certain elements in seawater
University of Tsukuba researchers found two processes immediately after the end-Cretaceous asteroid impact that likely supplied chalcophile elements to the ocean, i.e., impact heating and acid rain.
Turbulent times revealed on Asteroid 4 Vesta
Planetary scientists at Curtin University have shed some light on the tumultuous early days of the largely preserved protoplanet Asteroid 4 Vesta, the second largest asteroid in our solar system.
In death of dinosaurs, it was all about the asteroid -- not volcanoes
Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international, Yale-led team of researchers.
Active asteroid unveils fireball identity
At around 1 a.m. local standard time on April 29, 2017, a fireball flew over Kyoto, Japan.
It really was the asteroid
Fossil remains of tiny calcareous algae not only provide information about the end of the dinosaurs, but also show how the oceans recovered after the fatal asteroid impact.
Gigantic asteroid collision boosted biodiversity on Earth
An international study led by researchers from Lund University in Sweden has found that a collision in the asteroid belt 470 million years ago created drastic changes to life on Earth.
Uncovering the hidden history of a giant asteroid
A massive 'hit-and-run' collision profoundly impacted the evolutionary history of Vesta, the brightest asteroid visible from Earth.
Hubble watches spun-up asteroid coming apart
A small asteroid has been caught in the process of spinning so fast it's throwing off material, according to new data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.
Hubble captures rare active asteroid
Thanks to an impressive collaboration bringing together data from ground-based telescopes, all-sky surveys and space-based facilities -- including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope -- a rare self-destructing asteroid called 6478 Gault has been observed.
More Asteroid News and Asteroid Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.