NASA looks for meteor fragments in Northeast Ohio, finding one could mean extra cash in your pocket

Colleges, collectors may pay cash for finding

CLEVELAND - NASA officials want people to be on the look out for pieces of a meteor that hit near Cleveland.

Bill Cooke with the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office said the impact area is near Warren, Kinsman and Hermitage, where are east of Cleveland. The meteor was spotted on radar images in Trumbull County when it entered the atmosphere around 1:22 a.m. on August 8, Cooke said.

The meteor's speed decreased to 10 kilometers a second when it was north of Gustavus.

NASA officials said the meteor, which weighed about 20 pounds, produced meteorites that could weigh more than 2 pounds. Cooke said the radar signature indicated falling debris about two to three minutes after the event.

Jay Reynolds, research astronomer at Cleveland State University, said a meteorite would be about the size of a baseball, weighing two pounds. Reynolds explains meteorites fall from the sky every day, but they're so small and look like rocks, most people wouldn't know the difference.

NASA wants anyone who finds a fragment of the meteorite to contact them with the location of the discovery. But Reynolds says there's another option that could mean you getting some money for the find. A two pound meteorite could be worth upwards of $10,000 to universities and collectors. Technically, the fallen fragments of asteroids or comets belong to the owner of the property it fell on, said Reynolds.

"It's like throwing a box of rocks out of a jet at 35,000 feet and trying to find them," explained Reynolds.

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