Last year on October 6, a tiny asteroid was discovered in space. Unlike all of the asteroids discovered before this one, this asteroid (named 2008 TC3) was on a collision course with Earth. Only 20 hours after discovery, the 2-meter in diameter asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere over northern Sudan in Africa.
The New Scientist magazine reports that researchers from the University of Khartoum (in Sudan) and NASA have found meteorites from the impact of 2008 TC3. This marks not only the first time that an object was observed in space before impacting the Earth or its atmosphere, but also the first time an object was studied in space as an asteroid and on the ground as a meteorite.
The New Scientist report can be found here.
A PDF presentation by Lindley Johnson, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observation program, can be found here. This presentation also includes photos of one of the meteorite. It is also a nice summary of the current state of the surveys which search for Near-Earth asteroids and comets.
Past Transient Sky posts include: