Minimoon still on the looseOPEN ACCESS 

Hadrien A. R. Devillepoix, Seamus Anderson, Martin C. Towner, Patrick M. Shober, Anthony J. T. Jull, Matthias Laubenstein, Eleanor K. Sansom, Philip A. Bland, Martin Cupák, Robert M. Howie, Benjamin A. D. Hartig, Garry N. Newsam

submitted to MAPS, Comments welcome


“On Aug 22, 2016, a bright fireball was observed by the Desert Fireball Network in South Australia. Its pre-atmosphere orbit suggests it was temporarily captured by the Earth-Moon system before impact. A search was conducted two years after the fall, and a meteorite was found after 6 days of searching. The meteorite appeared relatively fresh, had a mass consistent with fireball observation predictions, and was at the predicted location within uncertainties. However, the meteorite did show some weathering and lacked short-lived radionuclides (58Co, 54Mn). A terrestrial age based on cosmogenic 14C dating was determined; the meteorite has been on the Earth’s surface for 3.2 ± 1.3 kyr, ruling out it being connected to the 2016 fireball. Using an upper limit on the pleistieocene terrain age and the total searched area, we find that the contamination probability from another fall is < 2%. Thus, the retrieval of the “wrong” meteorite is at odds with the contamination statistics. This is a key example to show that fireball-meteorite pairings should be carefully verified.”