In which I stop being amazed at niche jobs

April 9, 2008

While clearing out a decade’s worth of paper from my office I came across an article in the Feb 2003 issue of the university’s in-house paper, Buzz. In one article, the following extract struck me: …artists had acquired a meteorite from a meteorite dealer in Scotland.

Several questions come to mind: Can you make a living as a meteorite dealer? I guess there are more meteorites hitting Earth as one would think, not all of course big enough to make (no pun intended) an impact. And why Scotland? Is Scotland especially prone to being hit by meteorites?

Thanks to the web, the first question can be supplemented by a useful snippet of information: Over the whole surface area of Earth, that translates to 18,000 to 84,000 meteorites bigger than 10 grams per year. But of course 70% of that end up in the sea, and most of them never make it through the atmosphere in the first place. I also don’t want to speculate how much demand there is for meteorites, other than from conceptual artists and perhaps astrophysicists.