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Space rock finally fished out of lake in the Urals

By Anna Liesowska
16 October 2013

After whizzing around space since the beginning of time, scientists can now examine meteorite.

A crowd of journalists gathered round to witness the rock's first public display after billions of years of space travel. Picture: Chelyabinsk region governor press service

The lump of celestial debris is already known to from the 'time of genesis', but experts are hopeful it will give up new secrets after being lifted from the silt in Lake Chebarkul on Wednesday. Experts tests are expected to confirm it is part of the meteorite that crashed to earth eight months ago.

The salvage team are not sure exactly how much it weighs - probably in excess of 600 kilograms - because the rock broke the scales on which it was placed.

And it also cracked into at least three three pieces after its first contact with humans following the operation to lift it from its watery resting place.

'The rock had a fracture when we found it,' explained a scientist. 'It weighed 570 kilograms before the pieces fell off. And then the scale broke'

The meteor lit up the morning sky over the city of Chelyabinsk on 15 February in an extraterrestrial display of shock and awe, exploding in the atmosphere above the Urals with the force of a nuclear bomb. 

Some 1500 people were left injured, mainly from shattered glass, with many needing psychological counselling. 

Chebarkul meteorite

The weight of the meteorite chunk was later established as 654kg. Picture: Andrey Klukov

Analysis of meteorite fragments already found, made public earlier this month, shows that its age 'practically coincides with that of the solar system, 4.56 billion years,' said Mikhail Marov, deputy head of the planetary research and space chemistry department of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geo-Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry.

The operation to lift it from the lake bed was shown live on Russian TV. The rock is 1.5 metres long; it was hauled up after it had been wrapped underwater in a special casing and dragged on a metal sheet. A crowd of journalists gathered round to witness the rock's first public display after billions of years of space travel. 

The weight of the meteorite chunk was later established as 654kg.

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