Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Scientists offer cash for meteorites

The Russian Academy of Sciences and the State University of Chelyabinsk have teamed up to offer rewards for legitimate meteor fragments recovered following the February 15 meteor explosion in the Urals.

The reward program is an effort to not only collect meteorites for scientific purposes, but also to curb sales of uncertified meteorites on the internet, according to Bloomberg.

Unverified meteorites are being advertised for sale online for as much as $16,500. State University of Chelyabinsk spokesperson Olga Schapina said that scientists are prepared to offer an even larger sum to those who turn in their meteorites to the university, depending on size.

University meteor committee head Victor Grokhovsky estimates that hundreds of thousands of fragments, ranging in size from one millimeter to several inches, may have been disbursed over a radius of hundreds of miles, Bloomberg reports.

Meanwhile, Chelyabinsk police are investigating online meteor fragment sales for possible fraud charges. Classified advertising websites such as Avito.ru are offering more than 20 meteor pieces with prices from $17 to more than $1,600.