He is a red man all over, everyone can smell it. Even through the jasmine oil I apply so liberally before each shave he reeks of rusty iron and musk like the heavy gate to the bull’s field that was left open last year. I prattle on about the weather and tug my comb through his beard with my fingers crossed. Every time I snag on a knot I wince, afraid by the size of his huge hairy fists and the bulk of him sprawled across my biggest chair.
Stars Fell on Alabama
Blazing a trail through space, ancient Egypt, a mysterious event in early 20th century Siberia and the very human story of Mrs Ann Hodges, the only NASA-verified meteorite strike victim in history.
Story show; 20 mins
Written and performed by Sarah Gillett
12.47pm Tuesday 30 November 1954
Oak Grove, Sylacauga, Alabama
Mrs Ann Hodges is pretending to be asleep on her living room sofa. In outer space a small asteroid is moving. It passes so close to the Earth that it becomes trapped by the planet’s gravitational field, travelling at a tremendous speed, 30,000 miles an hour. Down, down, down it falls…
There are three types of meteorite: stony, iron and stony-iron. Every meteorite fall is named, so each meteorite fragment can be identified from its unique physical and chemical properties. Measuring the levels of iron, nickel, feldspar, olivine, silicone and carbon reveals the meteorite’s life story, from their parent bodies, place of birth and age to the collisions and interruptions they have experienced on their journey. But the study of meteorites is also the way we derive the age of our solar system. They are the most ancient accessible material we have to study, hundreds of millions of years older than the oldest rocks on Earth.