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The first meteorite was found after 5 days of walking and roamed a landscape of sand, dense tall grass, shrubs and thorn bushes. Meteorite expert Tomas Kohout (left) and gamekeeper Kegilwe Mogotsi in the central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. Picture about the University of Helsinki.

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.

Trajectory models indicate that the small asteroid ZLAF9B2 affected our atmosphere over South Africa on June 2, and US government sensors and satellites confirmed the event. After a search, an international research team has now found fragments of the asteroid. Image via projectpluto.com.

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.

A fragment of the asteroid 2018 LA, which invaded the Earth's atmosphere on 2 June 2018 and caused a terrific explosion.

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.

About the University of Helsinki

Deborah Byrd



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