Meteorite-hunting ship picks up promising bits

Marc Fries
Cosmic dust expert Marc Fries examines tiny rock samples from the Pacific seafloor. (Ocean Exploration Trust / Nautilus Live Photo / Susan Poulton)

A research ship has recovered at least two bits of molten rock from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that scientists say could have come from a meteorite.

The preliminary findings are the result of an unprecedented survey conducted this week by the Exploration Vessel Nautilus in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) off the coast of Washington state.

If scientists are correct, the two flecks of rock identified today could be the first pieces of a meteorite recovered from the ocean after its descent was observed.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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