Investigating the life of things across space and time

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.

Sarah Gillett standing in front of an audience delivering a story show

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