On October 9,1992, 18-year-old Michelle Knapp who was at her parents’ house in Peekskill, New York watching television in the living room when she heard a crash coming from the driveway. Anxious that something bad might have happened, she went out to investigate and what she saw after left her in awe. The rear end of her car, an orange 1980 Chevy Malibu, had a fresh hole in it. She went on to look further and found that an ordinary-looking rock the size of a bowling ball made a similarly sized hole in the gravel driveway underneath her car. Surprisingly, for its size, it was heavier than expected. It also felt warm to the touch and this smelled faintly of rotten eggs.
The day after the incident, a curator from the American Museum of National History examined the rock and it was confirmed that the 28-pound ball of material that crashed into Michelle Knapp’s car was indeed a meteorite.
Every day, there are approximately 100 pounds of meteoric material bombarding the earth according to scientists. Meteorites are materials that have been travelling in space for billions of years. These are pieces of asteroids and other debris made of iron, nickel, and rock. Their sizes are varied. They could be as small as a dust particle or as wide as ten miles. However, most are about the size of a baseball. People do not often get to see them not unless they pay attention to the sky like astronomers do. Those that enter the earth often blaze across the sky and create a fireball as a result of friction; hence they are often called shooting stars.
Michelle was not the only witness to the meteorite’s landing. Thousands of people in the eastern United States saw the greenish Peekskill meteorite fall as it created a streak of light in the evening sky. The others may not have seen it with their own eyes but they say that they definitely heard it. One witness claimed that it sounded like a very loud sparkler. The scientists say that the meteorite originated from the inner edge of the main asteroid belt in space which was located in between Jupiter and Mars.
The meteorite crash was historic because it was an uncommon occurrence. The chance of one falling on a car was supposedly slim because a car is considered a tiny object in planet as large as the earth. In fact, there were only two similar recorded incidents. Scientists say that these happened in Illinois during the 1930s and once in St. Louis. The Knapp meteorite was purchased by a collector and two fossil dealers. This was later divided into small chunks and sold to museums and other collectors. As for the car, this was sold to Lang’s Fossil and Meteorites in Cranford, New Jersey for $10,000. Like the meteorite, this too has made history, having been brought on display in New York, Munich, Paris, and Tokyo.