An international research team from Botswana has found meteorites known to be fragments of the 2018 LA asteroid that astronomers discovered only eight hours before Earth's atmosphere hit Earth on June 2, 2018. The space rock was captured in videos (like the one below) when it dissolved into the atmosphere at a height of 30 miles (50 km).
After five days of searching, the team found the first meteorite in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
This is only the third time that an asteroid has been discovered before it encounters the Earth's atmosphere, and it is the second time that fragments of the incoming rock have been recovered. The first time was on October 7, 2008, when a 13-foot (4-meter) asteroid, designated as a 2008 TC3, exploded over Sudan.
This time, astronomers discovered the small asteroid on a Saturday morning, June 2, and were surprised when its trajectory suggested that a few hours later, it would pass very, very close to Earth. They found the asteroid with the 60-inch telescope at Mt. Lemmon, which is part of the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.
It looks as though there is a good chance that ZLAF9B2 will affect the Earth within the next few hours. (Plot of MPML and Peter Birtwhistle) https://t.co/As7RgDseLA pic.twitter.com/XKktXbLNFn
– Asteroid Initiatives (@AsteroidEnergy) 2 June 2018
When the asteroid 2018 LA hit the Earth's atmosphere, it produced an explosion at an intensity of about 1 kilotonnes, suggesting an estimated size for the space rock with a diameter of 3 to 5 meters.
Peter Jenniskens, a meteorite expert from NASA Ames and SETI Institute, together with Jarmo Moilanen and Esko Lyytinen of the Finnish Fireball Network, made calculations to determine the area for the search for meteorites.
The space rock will be further investigated by a research consortium of scientists.
Conclusion: Researchers found meteorite fragments of the 2018 LA asteroid in Botswana. The asteroid exploded on June 2, 2018 in the atmosphere over southern Africa.
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