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Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Friday, 18 February 2011
Middlesbrough meteorite on show
The Middlesbrough Meteorite
The meteorite is as old as our solar system

A 4.5bn-year-old piece of space rock is on display in Middlesbrough, 130 years after it landed there.

Because Middlesbrough had no museum at the time, the 'Middlesbrough Meteorite' was handed to York Museum.

To mark the anniversary of its landing on March 14, the rock is currently on loan to Middlesbrough's Dorman Museum.

The rock is unusual in that it did not break up in the Earth's atmosphere and has recently been examined by Nasa's Mars Mission team.

The scientists have made a 3D scan of the meteorite, which will be taken to Mars, to help robots search for similar shaped objects on the red planet.


Image from the scene
The meteorite fell just yards from where men were working

At 3.35pm on 14 March 1881, railway workers were going about what they thought was a normal day's business at Pennyman's Siding, near the site of the present day St Luke's Hospital, when they heard a roaring sound, followed by a thud not far from where they were standing.

At the bottom of a vertical hole in an embankment, they found what later became known as 'The Middlesbrough Meteorite'.

The North East Railway company initially designated the meteorite as 'lost property', before gifting it to Yorkshire Philosophical Society who owned the Yorkshire Museum, where it now lives.

The meteorite will remain on display at the Dorman Museum until March 15.

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