Rocks of ages: How meteorites reveal the solar system’s history
Clever ways to find more space debris, and pinpoint where it came from, will help us rewrite what we know about the solar system’s turbulent youth
A MAN with a Stetson perched on his head reclines in his chair, an assortment of rocks displayed in front of him. A second man in a fedora browses the collection, pausing over one specimen. The size of a chocolate bar, the silvery rock is inlaid with a mosaic of grainy grey shapes.
“What are you asking for that one?” asks the fedora.
“Oh, somewhere around five thousand,” replies the Stetson.
It’s a routine exchange at the annual Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase in Arizona, a marketplace for international collectors of petrified wood, dinosaur bones, gold and more. Except there’s something special about this rock: it came from space.