In February 2017, Jan and I searched for fresh urban micrometeorites in the United States of America.
The very first one, NMM 930, was found in Navajo country, at Canyon de Chelly, Chinle, Arizona. The little cosmic egg is a barred olivine (BO-type) micrometeorite measuring approximately 0.4 mm. Remarkably, it seems to be one single crystal body because all the stripes between the individual olivine plates are parallel. Now that the space rock is documented, it will be returned to the Navajo Nation as soon as possible.
In the following days we sampled for micrometeorites in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we visited the queen of meteoritic isotope analysis, Karen Ziegler, before we ended up in Houston, Texas. There, at Johnson Space Centre (JSC), we were invited to visit NASA’s Stardust Lab, where Mike Zolensky showed us lots of exciting things, among which were the two large cosmic dust particles brought back from comet Wild2. The next day, we returned to JSC to sample for cosmic dust on the roof of the lab. There I found no less than five micrometeorites. The incident is referred to by Zolensky in the preface of the Atlas of Micrometeorites before he adds “The irony of this I will not comment”.
The micrometeorites found at JSC were later donated to NASA, and the ones found on campus at the University of New Mexico, ABQ, were gifted to Karen Ziegler at the Meteoritic Institute. Later that year, micrometeorite collector Scott Peterson from Minnesota tried my method, broke the code, and started his amazing journey with stardust.
It brings me such joy to remember the very first American micrometeorite and reflect on how far we’ve come as a community since that pivotal trip. Now, numerous stardust collectors from around the world have learned my method and taken up the hunt. Together, our treasures add to the vast significance of this work and my dearest hope is that our collective contributions may help researchers gain a better understanding of the mysteries of the universe.