The first meteorite fragment of 2018 LA Asteroid was found in the Central Kalahari Reserve in Botswana.
The determination of the dispersion area of meteorites fragments originating from the asteroid that entered the atmosphere on the night of June 2, 2018 involved a multinational effort with the cooperation between the SETI Institute (NASA) and the Finnish Fireball Network (FFN). Meteorite searches and curation still involve the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Botswana Geosciences Institute and the Okavango Research Institute of the University of Botswana as well as researchers from Wits University, South Africa.
The dispersion area of the fragments was estimated to be 200 km2 within the Kalahari game reserve, a difficult area with the presence of lions, poisonous snakes, high vegetation, brambles and sand that make searches a dangerous challenge. But after five days of searching a small fragment of 3cm in diameter was finally discovered among the vegetation.
And certainly many more fragments will still be discovered, calculations made by the American Meteor Society and BRAMON point to a total mass of meteorites around 1 ton!
This is the third time in history that an asteroid in effective collision route with our planet was detected in space a few hours before the collision, and only the second time that the remaining meteorites of the body were recovered.
In addition to its scientific value in understanding the formation of the solar system itself, the study of these meteorites could help in the development of asteroid threat detection and mitigation techniques that have a chance of colliding with our planet.
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