HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (PIX11) – Call it the Mercer County meteorite.
A suspected space rock that crashed through the roof of a home in Hopewell Township is sending space enthusiasts into orbit.
“Yeah, it sounds kind of crazy to think you can own a piece of space, or hold a piece of space,” said Lisa DeChristofaro.
“Our apartment is full of [meteorites]. Like, literally all different types,” said Brett Cohen.
Cohen and DeChristofaro aren’t just into space rocks. They own a meteorite dealing business.
Fellow enthusiast Andrew Kruegel from Morris County owns about 30 meteorites himself. He said there’s special excitement about this particular space rock.
“It’s called a hammerstone,” said Kruegel. “So it’s something that’s struck a manmade object. That multiplies the value severalfold at least compared to just an ordinary meteorite that you found in the desert, for instance.”
While they’re on-site, the enthusiasts will be searching the area for any fragments left behind. They say they wouldn’t be surprised if, over the next few days, other enthusiasts start to pour in from all over the country.
“This is a pretty rare event to have a meteorite hit a manmade structure,” said Kruegel.
Dr. Shannon Graham is a geophysicist and associate professor of physics at nearby The College of New Jersey. She said the plan is for the homeowners to bring in the meteorite for examination, giving the family an idea of what they can do with it next.
“Everyone in the department here is really excited to have the chance to even get a glimpse of it,” said Graham. “We have a scanning electron microscope on campus that can help us analyze the chemical composition of the suspected meteorite and that can help tell us basically what it is, what kind of meteorite it might be.”
For this rock to make it all the way from space to New Jersey, the odds are pretty out of this world.
“The fact that it hit a populated area and people found it right away, that’s very, very rare,” said Graham, “like a once-in-a-lifetime or generation kind of event.”