November 29, 2020
Back in August, a 33-year-old Indonesian coffin maker named Josua Hutagalung was working on a coffin near the street in front of his house when he heard a booming sound that made his house shake. It was as if, he said, “a tree had fallen on us.”
It wasn’t a tree. It was a meteorite. Weighing in at roughly 4.5 pounds, and the size of a football, the 4-billion-year-old meteorite was later classified as the extremely rare CM1/2 carbonaceous chondrite variety, which scientists believe contains unique amino acids and other primordial elements necessary for the creation of life.
In the space-rock market, a meteorite of that ilk sells for $850 per gram. That piece of rock that went through the roof of his house and landed in Hutagalung’s living room was worth close to $2 million.
The meteorite was sold to a meteorite collector Dr. Jay Piateck, who mailed it for safe-keeping to the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University (where it’s currently being stored in liquid nitrogen).
Although the purchase price was not made public, Hutagulung says that, with his new-found fortune, he plans to help build a church for his community. He can probably also afford a new roof.