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Merrimack Valley

June 14, 2013

NASA: Amesbury rock came from Soviet spacecraft

NASA confirms: Rock came from Soviet spacecraft

AMESBURY — Phil Green knew he’d found something unusual when he pulled the strange green rock out of the Merrimack River six years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that he found out his discovery was truly out of this world.

Green, a custodian at the Amesbury Elementary School who lives by the Merrimack River, recently received confirmation from NASA that a strange rock he found is actually a piece of the Mir Space Station that fell into his backyard.

The space agency confirmed the rock’s origin after a year-long analysis, and sent the rock and a plaque back to Green for him to keep a couple of weeks ago.

Green said he found the rock while searching for arrowheads down by the river near his house, and said it stuck out to him immediately when he saw it.

“The river gets scoured really well by the ice in the wintertime, so you wouldn’t expect to find a small rock sitting on top of what’s almost like pavement and granite,” Green said. “So I went over and picked it up.”

The rock was covered in mud, but when he washed it off he found that it had a burnt shade of green and looked as if someone had tried to chip away at it. It had a distinctive glassy structure too, except for one side also had about a hundred tiny pores, the kind frequently found in volcanic rock.

Green checked it with his metal detector and found that it had no traces of metal in it. Perplexed, he decided to leave the rock outside on top of another rock by his house, and that’s where it remained for another five years.

“I kind of lost track of it,” Green said. “I didn’t really think much of it, and then a fellow came over, saw it and said that’s a meteor.”

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