Some people in Washington state witnessed a meteorite rocket past them and into the ocean off the coast.
The meteorite lit up the sky on March 7 before emitting a loud boom as it crashed into the sea.
“They thought it was a spaceship,” Brittany Bryson told the Seattle Times, referring to her sister and her children.
Scientists confirmed it was a meteorite in late June.
Researchers are now planning to search for some of the shattered meteorite parts from the ocean floor, which would be a first.
“Nobody has ever done this before,” said Marc Fries, a NASA employee who is also a meteorite hunter.
Fries said the meteorite was the biggest one in the United States in 21 years, estimating it was as big as a golf cart.
Weather radar data indicated the meteorite splashed down about 16 miles offshore from the Quinault Indian Nation village of Taholah.
Efforts to locate pieces of the meteorite will be led by crews on the exploration vessel “Nautilus.”
The crews will launch a remotely operated vehicle on July 2 starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time and continuing for around seven hours, researchers said.
People who are interested can watch via a live stream.
“You’ll see exactly what we’re seeing as we’re looking for those meteorites,” Jenny Waddell, sanctuary research coordinator at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, told King 5.
“We’re definitely interested in it, because it’s such a rare and fascinating event, but NASA has an interest in it because of the composition.”
Scientists believe the meteorite may have originated on another planet’s volcano.
Dr. Nicole Raineault of the Ocean Exploration Trust will serve as Expedition Leader for this expedition running from July 1-4, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the trust, and the National Geographic Society.
Any meteorite fragments found will be shipped to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and eventually become part of their research collection.
Two public presentations regarding the findings will be held on Thursday, July 5; one at Grays Harbor College from 10 to 11 a.m. and one at Peninsula College from 6 to 7 p.m.