Meteorite Fragment Heads to Field Museum

A 4-billion-year-old chunk of rock that streaked across the Midwestern sky last week is finding a temporary home in Chicago's Field Museum.

It was picked up by Terry Boudreaux and his sons, 17-year-old Christopher and 13-year-old Evan of Lake Forest, who trekked over 400 miles and searched over 10 miles searching fields until they came across a farmer who found the piece and offered it up for sale.

"It's so rare to collect a meteorite so shortly after it fell," explained Dr. Lance Grande, the Head of Collections & Research at the Field Museum.  "There are certain types of radiation that dissipate almost immediately.  We can actually make measurements of some of the radiation now.  We won't be able to in several months to a year."

Boudreaux said it was important to start the search quickly after the fall.

"These farmers are plowing their fields right now.  These things could be lost forever.  If you can get to them early, you can save them for science," he said.

And he has no qualms about taking his boys out of school to aid with the search.

"This is the best thing in the world, this is science firsthand.  How can you not like this?" This is fantastic.  I would do it again in a second," he said.

Terry Boudreaux's wife is a trustee at the Field Museum and was able to get the extensive private collection loaned to the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies, which holds the world's largest non-federal collection of meteorites.

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