The meteorite that smashed into an English corridor is now in the Natural History Museum in London

A fragment of the 4.5 billion-year-old debris that slammed into Earth from the outer reaches of our solar system is on display at the Natural History Museum in London.

Named Winchcombe Meteorite after the small English market town where it landed in February, scientists say this type of meteorite is extremely rare.

Its arrival on February 28 was captured by Richard Fleet from the UK Meteor Observation Network before landing on the trail of Hannah Wilcock at Winckcombe.

“It was peak closing, so I didn’t do anything that evening, funny enough,” Wilcock told reporters. “And I heard something crashing outside. I opened my window, as I often do in the evening, and behold if it wasn’t a meteor.”

A piece of space debris of the type known as carbonaceous chondrites, some containing organic matter and amino acids: the essential ingredients of life.

Helena Bates, temporary curator of meteorites at the Natural History Museum, said: “They are made up of things like water-bearing minerals, which at some point in their history indicate they were exposed to water.

“Wherever we find water on Earth, we find life. And so, the water in our solar system is something we really care about. This meteorite might answer some questions about where the water comes from.”

The Natural History Museum in London reopens its doors on Monday after nearly five months of closure due to coronavirus restrictions.

This is the longest closure in the museum’s history since World War II, and Monday will be the first time the public will see the Winchcombe meteorite.

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