Is Costa Rica meteorite an extra-terrestrial mudball? Scientists ponder extracting water

1.76 ounces (50 grams) of Aguas Zarcas meteorite, donated to ASU's Center for Meteorite Studies by private collector, Michael Farmer ASU/Center for Meteorite Studies

A small meteor, apparently of the size of a washing machine broke apart in the skies and rained down in a small Costa Rican town in April. After initial analysis, scientists revealed that the meteorite is actually an extraterrestrial mudball that could provide valuable insight into the origin of the solar system.

The meteorite landed in Aguas Zarcas, a small town in Costa Rica on April 23. During its entry into the atmosphere, the meteor apparently broke down into small meteorites and landed around the town. One meteorite weighing two pounds fell through the roof a house and damaged the dining table.

Normally, meteors that land on earth are dry, but the meteorite piece recovered from Costa Rica was apparently wet.

As per the experts, this meteor is made of wet clay and rich in organic elements and water compounds. More studies on this meteor could help scientists to formulate an idea on how to extract water from asteroids in space.

"Having this meteorite in our lab gives us the ability, with further analysis, to ultimately develop technologies to extract water from asteroids in space. Nature has said 'here you are' and now we have to be smart enough to tease apart the individual components and understand what they are telling us," said Laurence Garvie of Arizona State University's Center for Meteorite Studies.

This meteorite that fell in Costa Rica belongs to a special group called 'carbonaceous chondrites'. ''Many carbonaceous chondrites are mud balls that are between 80 and 95% clay. Clays are important because water is an integral part of their structure," Garvie said.

Scientists are now in a meteorite hunt to discover more pieces from the area. Until now, they have recovered 55 pounds of meteorite from Aguas Zarcas.

In the meantime, NASA is busy developing a planetary defence weapon to protect the planet from rogue bodies like meteors and asteroids. As per reports, NASA is planning to hit asteroids using a powerful spacecraft, and they believe that it will deviate the collision trajectory of these space bodies.

Related topics : Asteroid