NASA will start searching for meteorites that entered the Earth and crashed into the ocean floor, and it has asked the Nautilus to help in the mission.
If NASA succeeds, it will be the first time that a meteorite will be pulled out of the ocean. The meteorite that NASA will be looking for is considered a special one, and worth all of the effort that will be placed into the search.
Meteorite Crashes Into Pacific Ocean
In one evening in early March, Washington State residents witnessed a bright flash of light and heard a mysterious boom. Some people even said that their homes shook at the time of the event.
Naturally, some social media comments claimed that it was an alien spacecraft that crashes into the Earth. While the event was indeed caused by an out-of-this-world object, no aliens were involved.
NASA planetary scientist Marc Fries monitored the incident, which was a meteorite that crashed into the Pacific Ocean. According to Fries, the meteorite fall was one of the largest that he has observed on weather radar since the '90s.
Recovering Meteorites From Ocean With The Nautilus
Nobody has ever retrieved a meteorite from the ocean floor, according to Fries. However, the mission that will look to achieve the feat for the first time will be worth it, he said.
"This one is special," said Fries. "This one is tougher than your typical meteor." This is because the meteorite crash involved space rock that did not break, crack, or burn in the atmosphere as much as other meteorites do when they entered the Earth.
NASA, however, will not carry out the mission on its own. It will be assisted by a group of marine researchers and the Nautilus. Named after the submarine of Captain Nemo in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus is an exploration vessel operated by the nonprofit organization Ocean Exploration Trust. The research ship happened to be studying the ocean around the area where the meteorite crashed a few months ago.
Some of the debris from the meteorite is believed to be as big as a brick, and the mission will try to retrieve as much of it as possible. Fries has narrowed the area where the team will be finding meteorites in the ocean to a one-square-kilometer field, which is about 100 meters deep.
If the missions succeeds and retrieves meteorites from the ocean, NASA will gain more material for understanding and analyzing the pieces of rock that crash into the Earth.