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Scientists examine potential meteorites at ASU Open House event

Posted at 8:38 PM, Feb 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-25 20:53:40-05

Is that weird rock you found a meteorite from outer space or just a regular rock found on Earth?

People traveled to Arizona State University's Tempe campus Saturday afternoon for the ASU Open House to have their discoveries analyzed by scientists from the Center for Meteorite Studies.  

“Usually, I can tell by just looking at it and just say, ‘no, it’s not a meteorite,” said Laurence Garvie, curator, and professor for the Center for Meteorite Studies.  

If he can’t tell what it is just by looking at it, Garvie uses an X-ray gun that lets him figure out exactly what the rock is made of.

“Meteorites will have certain characteristics. They’ll have iron; they’ll have nickel,” he said.

According to Garvie, they’ll have a ton of nickel. Calcium, titanium, and potassium, he says, are not metals typically found in a meteorite.  

Still, the chance of finding something that traveled long distances to reach Earth is enough to keep these explorers searching for that deep space treasure.

“There was one, so far nothing has turned up as a definite meteorite, there was one that turned up that was unusual, and we may look at it again,” said Garvie.