When last we heard, Everybody’s Favorite Meteorite was locked up in legal limbo.
The oblong little rock from outer space lighted up the late afternoon sky across Washington on Jan. 18, 2010, and rocketed into a doctors’ office in Lorton. Moving at a leisurely 200 mph, it crashed into examination room No. 2 in the Williamsburg Square Family Practice, even though it did not have an appointment.
The startled (but unhurt) doctors, Marc Gallini and Frank Ciampi, donated it to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which houses the world’s largest collection of meteorites.
But then their landlords said not so fast: The 2-by-3-inch visitor from the asteroid belt was estimated to be worth at least $50,000 on the earth-bound meteorite market, in part because of its dramatic and well-documented entrance. Thousands of people saw its fireball descent (the museum has a photograph of the vapor trail), and radar sweeps documented its path across the region.