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Space Science

3 Ton Meteorite Stolen 273

morpheus83 writes "Russian news agency Interfax is reporting that thieves have stolen a three-ton meteorite from the yard of the Tunguska Space Event foundation, whose director said it was the part of meteor that caused a massive explosion in Siberia in 1908. The massive three tonne rock was bought to Krasnoyarsk after an 2004 expedition to the site of the so-called Tunguska event- a mysterious mid air explosion over Siberia in 1908 was 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The foundation's director Yury Lavbin claimed to have discovered the wreckage of an alien spacecraft during the expedition."
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3 Ton Meteorite Stolen

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  • by spookymonster ( 238226 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @12:55PM (#20213611)
    ....vas Moose and Squirrel?
  • How? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lanceleader ( 1050398 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @12:56PM (#20213641)
    How could someone steal a 3 tonne meteorite? I don't really see how the theft happened unnoticed.
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Funny)

      by shotgunefx ( 239460 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:29PM (#20214069) Journal
      I dunno, I remember a Cajun restaurant around the corner had a really cool giant wood alligator sculpture crawling out of the side of the building.

      About 15 ft up, It was about 7 to 8ft long and weighed probably near 1000 pounds with the mount. Steel cables attaching it to the building amongst other things.

      One Sunday, a few guys showed up with a cherry picker and somehow detached, lowered it and carted it off. More than a few people saw it, but people just assumed they must be ok to cart it off, because who would steal a giant wooden alligator in the middle of the day?
      • Ha! That's good. Of course, not long ago, MIT students managed to boost a 3-ton cannon from CalTech using similar methods [].
      • In my university they installed this huge frozen CO2 tank the size of two large trailer trucks. The next day it was gone. The funny thing is that people have seen it in an industrial area, but there's no formal proof that it's the same, so it's there to stay.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Falstius ( 963333 )
      If someone can steal a swimming pool full of water [] out of a backyard, one big rock out of a mostly ignored storage yard should be pretty easy.
    • by Himring ( 646324 )
      "I would not want to be a manufactured home repo man. Those would be hard to sneak away. Knock knock knock - 'Hi, could you go cut your grass... then look that way for half an hour?'" - Mitch Hedberg

      RIP Mitch

    • Re:How? (Score:5, Funny)

      by wumpus188 ( 657540 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @02:21PM (#20214719)
      Dude... this is Russia we're talking about. The meteorite probably just stole the thieves.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Rude Turnip ( 49495 )
      It's possible. Heck, in 1968, a master thief and his girlfriend/accomplice stole a 10-ton gold ingot from a moving train! They blew up a bridge going over water when the train approached. The train crashed into the bay, along with the steel container of gold. Using a submarine, they went down and attached balloons to the container to give it lift, and hauled away the gold using the sub. Luckily, the police inspector in charge of moving the gold had the container radioactivated, so they could trace it w
    • The same way people rob cash machines: with a digger.
  • Wreckage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @12:56PM (#20213645) Journal
    If they were able to bring a 3-ton meteorite out of the tundra to the foundation headquarters, why couldn't they have managed to bring back even a scrap of the supposed alien wreckage?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by skoaldipper ( 752281 )
      Maybe the alien ship wreckage was the meteorite?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fr4nk ( 1077037 )
        And maybe it wasn't stolen but managed to flew away after the crew repaired it for nearly a century!
    • by Surt ( 22457 )
      The wierd physics of the alien spacecraft made anyone who got too close melt ala ROTLA.
    • What's that have to do with the price of tea in China?

      I believe the concept is same as Roswell and all the other UFO conspiracy nuts... the gov't didn't want it to be public, not couldn't manage to make it so.
    • Alien force field technology., I mean four words.

      No, eight.


    • why couldn't they have managed to bring back even a scrap of the supposed alien wreckage?

      When it was first discovered, the Illuminati swept in on Black Helicopters and hurried it away to a Freemason stronghold under the Vatican.
  • No more "in Soviet Russia" jokes. They're not funny.

    Well, except maybe "I, for one, welcome our new asteroid stealing overlords from Soviet Russia."
  • what (Score:4, Funny)

    by JamesRose ( 1062530 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @12:57PM (#20213657)
    the aliens have turned up to take it back claiming we store it?!!?! Liers!
    • by Tuoqui ( 1091447 )
      Maybe it's Alien DRM? Like the wreckage pieces decided they spent enough time on earth and went flying to outer space?
  • Unsolved? (Score:5, Funny)

    by moehoward ( 668736 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @12:59PM (#20213679)

    My current understanding of the Tunguska event was that there were still at least three really good potential theories and that they were still researching. Asteroid, meteorite, etc.

    Anyway, glad to see the Aliens got their rock back. No tin-foil-hat-wearing clown should own Alien property. If my car parks on an ant hill, the ants suddenly don't own my car. And this guy had no right to "own" that rock. This guy has got to get a clue regarding species relations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ruiner13 ( 527499 )
      Yeah, I have to call BS on their claim it was part of the big explosion, since it is currently commonly thought that it was an air-burst event which would not leave a 3-ton object behind. If this rock was really from the event, I'm pretty sure the mystery would be solved, which it isn't.
      • Re:Unsolved? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:53PM (#20214373) Homepage Journal
        Well, there IS a group that has picked out a "potential crater" that went previously unrecognized that has done some expeditions and drilling in the lake to see if they can establish this for sure.
        Apparently their idea is a large stony or iron object was the cause of the blast, but part of it made a big divot in the landscape downrange. Because of the nature of the ground, it didn't look like a crater, more like someone sticking a broom handle in the mud. (Cracks and a hole, not ejecta, rim and round hole.) I think the link came from Slashdot or Fark.

        But, based on surveys of the rest of the area looking for stony or iron debris have not found much.

        So I call "Typical Russian BS" on this as well.

        It would be a HUGE discovery to have pegged the event with some physical remains, that's a popular subject amongst science-geeks, conspiracy theorists and Slashdot.

        For something to have been sitting in a museum (not studied?!) for three years and not noticed makes this look like insurance fraud more than anything else.
        • "For something to have been sitting in a museum (not studied?!) for three years and not noticed makes this look like insurance fraud more than anything else."

          Hey, stealing a non-existent 3ton meteorite is even easier than stealing a real one. One can do that and not leve a single track.

      • Well, according to Wiki the best guesses for the size of the Tunguska asteroid (if it was one) range from 60m to 1200m in diameter. I remember from some other reading that a 400m diameter, average composition asteroid has a mass of roughly 50 million tons. So a three ton piece of debris doesn't seem all that unreasonable, even if we consider a an order of magnitude smaller diameter.

        I'm sure we could find out if the object was really from the Tunguska event, however. I remember the first expeditions
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I actually did park my car on an anthill once, accidentally of course. The ants behaved just like humans and acted like they owned it: It took quite a while to get them all out, and they weren't happy about it. So I'd say this is a mistake any species can make.
  • by Knara ( 9377 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @12:59PM (#20213685)
    "Uh, what?"
  • by Alzheimers ( 467217 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:01PM (#20213719)
    Sought for questioning: Bald White Man, Tall, with typical evil genius features. Last heard uttering the phrase "I know how to stop Superman!"
  • How do you have a 6000 pound rock stolen?

    It's not like you can stick it in your pocket and walk away, even if you are that Russian boxer dude that killed Apollo Creed......

    The foundation's director Yury Lavbin claimed to have discovered the wreckage of an alien spacecraft during the expedition.

    And the article goes on to say that it just disappeared. (I'm not clear if it was the spaceship or the rock..... or maybe the rock was the spaceship....) Damn, and we were so close to proving the Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are real.......

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheMadcapZ ( 868196 )
      Actually depending on it's density it could be smaller than you think. If it is a rock, say with the density of concrete it would only be 1.48 cubic yards in size.
      That mean 4.5 ft length on each axis roughly (since it is irregular and all). It is nothing a hoist and a few straps couldn't lift into a suitable truck.

      If the density was higher as they say the composition maybe iron, those dimension will be even smaller.
    • Err...wasn't Apollo Creed the spaceship that took Neil Armstrong to the moon.
  • Tunguska Event (Score:3, Informative)

    by karlmiller ( 470975 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:03PM (#20213757)
    Wikipedia: Tunguska Event []
  • Obvious (Score:3, Funny)

    by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:03PM (#20213759)
    The US military used their stealth helicopter technology (enhanced with alien technology) to airlift the meteor out in the middle of the night. Otherwise, someone would have eventually discovered the alien artifacts embedded deep within the meteor.

    I can't believe such an obvious answer hasn't been expressed yet.

    (This is funny, I promise.)
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:06PM (#20213797)
    In short, this news is bullshit. Not a single meteorite remain from Tunguska event has been found. ves-steal-giant-rock/ []
    • by Al Al Cool J ( 234559 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @02:14PM (#20214639)

      Covered? The "coverage" consists of:

      • the claim that no meteorite remain from Tunguska has ever been found (proof by bold assertion)
      • a comment that the writer couldn't find the foundation's website. Gee, I wonder if the writer was searching for websites in Russian?
      • mockery and sarcasm as soon as the subject of aliens arises. After all, scientists know that aliens can't be visisting the earth, because the Fermi Paradox says so.

      I don't think that's particularly good coverage

      Anyway, here is a 2004 story from what looks to be a reputable science website [] on the discovery of the meteorite, with photo

      • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:09PM (#20215315)
        1. That's a well known-fact. Several expeditions conducted by USSR have not found any remains except for small spheres of molten glass and rock (consistent with aerial explosion).

        2. Ok, Russian is my native language, so I searched for this 'foundation'. Here is the original news: []

        This foundation is called 'Fond Tungusskogo Kosmicheskogo Fenomena' in Russian. So I've searched information about it in the most popular Russian search engine (it understands Russian morphology and works much better than Google): F3%F1%F1%EA%E8%E9+%EA%EE%F1%EC%E8%F7%E5%F1%EA%E8%E 9+%F4%E5%ED%EE%EC%E5%ED+%F4%EE%ED%E4 []

        This is the report about the initial "discovery" of this stone: 2004/08/10/223900.html []

        One of the first entries: [] - basically, this "foundation" was being kicked out of a museum.

        After that, there was exactly ZERO publications in reliable magazines about this discovery. For me, this smells of pseudoscience.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          See, already we've got more coverage than this badastronomy site. Good stuff.

          And as for this well known "fact", it's a fact provided you discount this 2004 supposed meteorite find. So using this "fact" to in turn discredit the find is circular.

      • by Enigma2175 ( 179646 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @04:09PM (#20216089) Homepage Journal

        Covered? The "coverage" consists of:

        • the claim that no meteorite remain from Tunguska has ever been found (proof by bold assertion)
        • a comment that the writer couldn't find the foundation's website. Gee, I wonder if the writer was searching for websites in Russian?
        • mockery and sarcasm as soon as the subject of aliens arises. After all, scientists know that aliens can't be visisting the earth, because the Fermi Paradox says so.

        I don't think that's particularly good coverage

        Anyway, here is a 2004 story from what looks to be a reputable science website [] on the discovery of the meteorite, with photo

        Hmm, the PhysOrg story is just a press release by the foundation, there is an official statement in the comments below the story stating "this new theory was announced at the press conference on results of the recent expedition to the crash site. It is not our own conclusion, but theory made by scientists who claim they found some proving evidences. As scientists, we truly believe that even some irrational theories have the right to be announced."

        If the Bad Astronomer is not good enough for you, how about articles from [] and MSNBC [] which were written in August 2004, when the foundation claimed to have found the alien spacecraft parts. Neither article gives much credence to the claim that the team's claimed dicovery. The foundation said at the time that they would be providing evidence (the recovered "spacecraft parts") but 3 years later they have yet to do so. The Bad Astronomer did not write a lengthy article because any rational being already knows that this foundation is full of shit. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and they have provided none.
    • by srmalloy ( 263556 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @02:52PM (#20215133) Homepage
      Actually, there is some conjecture that the meteorite may have been found, but not obtained. See this BBC science [] article; the premise is that Lake Cheko near the center of the region displays an unusual bottom formation with an anomalous feature about 10m down that might be a meteorite fragment. A fair degree of controversy exists, and an expedition is planned in 2008 to drill down to the anomaly to determine whether it is meteoritic in nature, which would settle the question.
    • by naoursla ( 99850 )
      Not according to the insurance policy I have locked up in my safe deposit box.
  • Useless (Score:5, Funny)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:08PM (#20213823)
    Someone tell the thieves that no matter how many walls they cross with it in England, the rock won't turn into Claire Danes, er, Yvaine.
  • Yeah right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtml-try MyNick ( 453562 ) <litheran@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:09PM (#20213843)
    To my best knowledge it was never cleared up what exactly caused the accident in the first place..

    And now, almost a 100 years later, we suddenly get to hear that they lost a 3 ton meteor (how the hell do you lose a 3 ton rock?) and oh yeah, btw, that was the meteor that caused the incident!....
    No worries, we had it lying in our backyard all the time, never felt a urge or saw the reason to let the rest of the world know....

    Yeah, right.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      (how the hell do you lose a 3 ton rock?)

      We lost Iraq, not 'a rock'.

      It turns out it was just a bad cellular connection.

  • by krou ( 1027572 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:16PM (#20213919)

    Wait a second, it's all so much clearer now.

    Obviously, Yury didn't bring the alien ship back because he himself is possessed, and the alien-Yury decided it would be much smarter to bring the meteorite back and tell a few oligarchs that it was filled with oil! Yes! So they go and steal it for their own ends, but they'll all get possessed, and the black ooze will be walking in the corridors of Russian power. And all this when there is talk of a new Cold War developing with the West.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  • by Blobule ( 913778 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:17PM (#20213933)
    I think someone is Putin us on!!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's nothing but a big load of Bolshevik.
  • The problem is (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bryan Bytehead ( 9631 ) <me@GIRAFFEbryanl ... minus herbivore> on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:18PM (#20213941) Homepage
    the whole thing is fake.

    They haven't recovered anything from that blast, let alone a 3 ton meteorite.
  • You'd think a vastly advanced alien civilization would produce better spaceship pilots - but it seems like everyone who has ever visited has crashed in some area too secluded for witnesses.

    Perhaps their disproportionately bulbous guitar pick-shaped heads crumple atop their spindly bodies when they enter Earth's gravity well.

  • Now that it's all over /. I can't sell it on E-Bay anymore!

    Anyway, I heard of this shady bidding site http://localhost.localdomain/ [localhost.localdomain] ...3T meteorite, bids starting at $100...
    • Man, can you imagine what it will cost to ship _that_?

      (Actually, it'll probably be one of those damned "local pickup only" auctions)
  • by PPH ( 736903 )
    Get Mulder and Scully out of retirement!

    And don't step in any of that oily stuff.

  • by veranikon ( 202025 ) <> on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:32PM (#20214105)
    Despite prevailing suspicions that a group of mutant little girls whizzed off with the rock to build their Help-the-Town-and-Make-It-a-Better-Place machine, don't forget that meteorite rock is pretty scarce, and can fetch a pretty penny/ounce.

    Martian Meteorites have sold for $85k/ounce [], and this source [] claims $3600/troy ounce for more garden variety space rocks. This is more valuable than gold, platinum, maybe comparable to Rhodium.

    So, (3tonnes = 128,602.986troy ounces)*$3600/ounce = $467 Million, just sitting around in your backyard. No chain, or Kryptonite lock, or even post-it note saying "please don't steal." Just asking for trouble from the neighbor kids, they were.
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:37PM (#20214163) Journal
    Ebay has a whole section [] dedicated to just meteorites.
    • Ebay has a whole section dedicated to just meteorites.

      Thank you for your information. I'm just buying them all.

          Lex Luthor
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fyoder ( 857358 )

      I did. Nothing yet. Chopped up into little ebay sized pieces, that would be a lot of lots of Tunguska meteorite. Perhaps they're hacking it up even now. Though the question would be how would one know it was authentic? I guess it would be one of those things where they provide a 'certificate of authenticity' to guarantee it...

      Just had an idea. Time to fire up the old printer.

      • by chill ( 34294 )
        You mean like all those "authentic" pieces of the Berlin Wall? There is precident.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Alsee ( 515537 )
      I was going to bid on this 3 ton Tunguska rock, but the shipping charges were astronomical.

  • HOW? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Absolut187 ( 816431 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @01:39PM (#20214189) Homepage
    How does a 3-ton rock go missing?
    You have to understand Russian culture.

    The expedition was under pressure from the government to produce its quota of evidence.
    When they could only find a few kilograms of meteor material, they forged a report stating that they had a 3-ton meteor (step 1). Then they bribed the right inspectors to confirm the existance of said meteor (step 2). Later, they realized that they could purchase property theft insurance from U.S. insurance companies (step 3). They then reported the meteor missing and filed a claim with Travelers (step 4).

    Step 5? PROFIT!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So, in other words, a few kilograms wouldn't have been enough meteor. They needed something... meatier.
  • some grainy security cam video shows up on liveleak with three guys in a pickup truck backing into the place and grabbing the rock?
  • I had a really cool Samurai statue that got stolen from my yard. I was sad it was gone, and was really kicking myself for leaving it in the yard. Like me, they shoulda just brought it inside . . . maybe it really didn't go with the interior decor.
  • Nosmo King has stolen the Tunguska Meteorite!!!

    OMG NOES!!!!1111one!!!lim(x->0)sin(x)/x!!11!1

  • I can't be bothered RTFA, but has anyone linked this to prices for metals? Of course it's probably only worth a few roubles, refined...

    The closest correlate in recent news was the theft [] of a bronze sculpture from Henry Moore's estate in London (in reality, priceless; but worth about five million pounds on the art market, worth a few thousand on the metals market. It's been melted down by now, for a certainty).

    Metal road signs, street fittings, even fire engine nozzles are being stolen [] in the UK and US [] for t
  • by Cheefachi ( 970662 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @02:39PM (#20214953)
    It hatched!
  • by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:03PM (#20215255) Homepage

    According to this [] article, the meteorite went missing last June, but they only reported it now. HELLO? It's still on Lavbin's desk, right where he left it, but his desk is actually MORE MESSY than mine.

  • Let me be the last to say...

    In Soviet Russia, crashed alien ship steals YOU!

    There, now all ISR jokes are officially dead.
  • Mirror! (Score:4, Informative)

    by antdude ( 79039 ) on Monday August 13, 2007 @03:35PM (#20215625) Homepage Journal
    The link is showing errors. Here is a mirror [].
  • Maybe the thieves are planning to hold the rock hostage until the wreckage of the alien spacecraft is released.

Usage: fortune -P [] -a [xsz] [Q: [file]] [rKe9] -v6[+] dataspec ... inputdir