A Museum Wants a Piece of the Meteorite That Just Fell in Maine—and Is Offering a $25,000 Reward for the First Specimen

The museum already boasts the largest piece of Mars on Earth.

Maine meteor
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum's exhibit of meteorites. Photo: Portland Press Herald via Getty Images.

Forget needles in a haystack, try finding a meteorite in a field. That’s the call coming from the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in the small town of Bethel, which is offering $25,000 for the first one kilogram specimen found from the meteorite that fell to Earth on April 8, 2023.

It’s the first radar-observed meteorite fall in Maine and arrived in Washington County around midday. Locals in eastern Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick reported seeing a streak of red in the sky that appeared like a firework with residents in the border town of Calais hearing multiple sonic booms.

Maine meteor

Map released by the NASA website for meteor falls showing strewn field landing site scaled from 10kg (red) to 1g (yellow). Photo: Nasa.gov

The fact it was visible during daylight has led astronomers at the University of Maine to speculate it was a larger type of meteor known as a bolide, a fact that has bolstered the confidence of the museum’s meteorite division.

The museum has welcomed its Canadian neigbors to take part and has asked for participants to obtain permission from land owners before beginning searches. It also noted that any discoveries need to be handed over for testing before a reward can be received.

“We wanted the offer to be sufficiently attractive to motivate a big search to enhance the likelihood of a recovery, Darryl Pitt, chair of the meteorite division at the museum, told Artnet. “The notion of going “local” and exhibiting a meteorite that actually fell in Maine would be a very attractive addition to our mix.”

Pitt also added that a few people associated with the museum would be searching for the meteor this weekend.

The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum was founded by philanthropist Lawrence Stifler and his wife Mary McFadden and opened in late 2019. It prides itself on world class collection that it presents in a modern and tech-forward way. In addition to thousands of minerals and gemstones, the museum boasts the largest Mars meteorite on Earth as well as the five largest pieces of the moon.

The American Meteor Society reported the Maine meteor as number 2002 for the year 2023.

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