Saturday, May 12, 2007

An object that fell through the roof of a New Jersey home in January was not a meteorite, according to Jeremy Delaney, a geologist at Rutgers University. Instead, it appears the object was space junk or orbital debris.

“Basically, it’s a piece of stainless steel. There’s huge amounts of material that have been left by the various space programs of the world,” said Delaney.

The meteorite shaped object was not from a naturally occurring substance and had a silver like reflection. It weighed about the same as a small can of soup, 13 ounces (about 370 grams), but was no bigger than a golf ball.

Earlier during the incident, scientists from Rutgers examined the object visually along with police who were at the scene, and determined it was a meteorite. But further tests by geologists confirmed that it was not a meteorite, but probably a metal piece from a rocket or satellite. They had earlier thought it was made of iron.

“That’s the nature of science. If the conclusion from the test says it’s not a meteorite, then it’s not a meteorite. We have to move forward,” said Srinivasan Nageswaran, a member of the family that found the object.