NASA scientists search for meteor fragments in Walker County - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

NASA scientists search for meteor fragments in Walker County

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WALKER CO. GA. (WRCB) -- The quiet Cove community in Walker County could be harboring a rock from hundreds of millions of miles away. NASA scientists believe meteorites from a space rock that flew into earth's atmosphere the night of March 7 could be somewhere in Walker County.  

"That probably be the biggest thing to hit out here in a long time," says Jeremy Lee.

"It came from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter so this rock traveled several hundred million miles to get to Walker County," says Dr. Jim Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office.  

Cooke tells Channel 3 this particular meteor caught them by surprise. "When we first picked it up it was doing around 33,500 mph," says Cooke.

Channel 3 obtained NASA video that shows a bright light streak across the sky above Huntsville, AL. "The meteor, we figure was about 50 pounds when it hit earth's atmosphere," says Cooke.  

He says the space rock traveled east to west, over Tunnel Hill before slowing down to about 6 miles-per-second, that's more than 21,000 mph.

Eventually, it landed somewhere in Walker County. After calculating, Cooke says it likely hit in the Cove community.

"I would like to know where it did hit, where it actually did fall out here," says Lee.  

Now, all they have to do is find it but it may be easier said than done. Cooke says any meteorites on the ground will likely be just a few ounces big and have a smooth surface, making it hard to tell the difference between regular rocks.

If meteorites are found, scientists could conduct a chemical analysis to calculate how old the rocks are and how far they traveled in space.  

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