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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Meteorite Hunter Scours The Ground For Bits Of Sky

• by Lauren Silverman

Every so often, pieces of heaven crash into Earth.

They can come from our own solar system, or millions of light years away. Few of us are lucky enough to get our hands on one of these space rocks. But for meteorite hunters and dealers such as Ruben Garcia, touching a piece of outer space is a daily routine.

The Best Hunting Grounds

One of Garcia's favorite spots to go meteorite hunting is an enormous dry lake bed in southern Arizona.

"It's been a dry lake bed for tens of thousands of years, and the reason that's good for us is because on average, a meteorite strikes the Earth about one per thousand years per square mile," Garcia says. "The longer this dry lake bed has been here, exactly like this, the longer it's had time to accumulate meteorites."

The lake bed is a lunar landscape — about 50 square miles of flat dusty, cracked earth. In the distance, it looks like there's water, but it's only a mirage.

Garcia starts to drive in small circles, leaving tracks in the dirt with his tires. He explains that sometimes, when you are out on a giant, dry lake bed, the best way to hunt meteorites is from the seat of your Jeep. It's not just the air conditioning; it's that you can cover more ground and spot the dark rocks from a distance.

When Garcia sees something that catches his eye, he pulls his Jeep over and picks the object up.

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