LAPAN Speaks About Tapanuli Meteorite Crash

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Local headlines on Friday were filled with news about Joshua Hutagalung from Tapanuli, North Sumatra, who sold a 1.7 kilogram meteorite for Rp200 million. However, this story gained traction after the collector who bought the space rock sold it for Rp1.4 million per gram. 

    The authenticity of the meteorite was confirmed by Rhorom Priyatikanto, a researcher of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN). 

    “Lapan has confirmed that the object is indeed a meteorite based on the photos that emerged a couple of months ago,” said the LAPAN researcher on November 20.

    Unfortunately, he said the space agency did not manage to detect the space rock when it hit the roof of Joshua Hutagalung’s house as LAPAN had no surveillance camera system operating nearby.

    Rhorom said the stone was classified as CM 1/2 carbonaceous chondrite that contains 20 percent steel and 25 percent silica, which is reportedly a very rare species.  

    Although LAPAN is equipped with meteor radars operating in West Sumatra’s Agam and West Java’s Garut, he maintained that predicting and observing atmospheric activities would be very difficult if it involved the size of the space rock that fell over Tapanuli.

    Apart from the recent event, the space agency announced that it would start to conduct asteroid observations from the Kupang National Observatory to better the chances of detecting near-earth asteroids. 

    Read: Lapan's Large Telescope at Kupang Observatory Is Underway

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