As the first television images of a meteor breaking apart over Central Texas were aired Sunday, meteorite hunters from around the world started grabbing their maps and booking flights.
"I saw it within two hours of it happening on CNN," said meteorite hunter Michael Farmer of Tucson, Ariz. "By Monday afternoon we had narrowed it down to West and by Tuesday, I was on a plane to Texas."
Just as storm chasers think nothing of driving hundreds of miles in search of an elusive tornado, a small group of meteorite hunters will drop everything to hop on a plane in hopes of ferreting out the next big find.
Sometimes they’re pursuing meteorites that recently fell from the sky, like the ones near West. When there is not a fresh find to explore, they’ll return to a well-documented field of meteorites that could have been there for hundreds or thousands of years
It’s a pursuit that can be both competitive and cooperative. And sometimes it can even be lucrative.
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