The Sutter's Mill meteorite fall in California's Gold Country on 22 April 2012


Wednesday, June 13 2012 - 7:00 pm, PDT
Peter Jenniskens
SETI Institute

On April 22, 2012, a 1/4 Hiroshima bomb detonation was heard in a wide area around Lake Tahoe. A small few meter sized asteroid crashed in our atmosphere, broke in fragments, pieces of which were seen falling down over the Colama/Lotus region by Doppler weather radar. This is right above Sutter's Mill, where the first gold was discovered by James Marshall on January 24, 1848. This led to the California Gold Rush that shaped our state as it is today. The recent fall of the meteorites has created a second rush in the area, not unlike the gold rush days of lore, now many are trying to recover the precious space rocks. Those turn out to be of a primitive carbonaceous chondrite type, the very meteorites that scientists love to study to learn about prebiotic compounds for the origin of life. SETI Instittue meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens, who runs a night-time video surveillance network in that area to map meteor showers and who found the second recovered meteorite from this fall, will talk about the efforts made by NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute to coordinate the recovery and learn as much as possible about the asteroid that shook people's imagination.

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