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Rare Meteorite Falls on UK Driveway Claimed to Contain the Building Blocks for Life

Written by: Rishitha Boddu


On February 28, 2021, at 9:54pm GMT, thousands of residents in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe were witnesses to a piece of space rock falling towards Earth. Little did they know, the rock was a rare meteorite that is presumed to hold secrets regarding early life on Earth. But first, what exactly is a meteorite? A meteorite is any piece of debris from a larger astral object such as a meteoroid, meteor, or comet. They often travel through outer space for thousands of years before being captured or crashing into a planet.


The meteorite that was found in the UK, nicknamed the Winchcombe meteorite, was the first piece of space rock that has been discovered in the nation in thirty years. Many of the locals in and around the town of Gloucestershire have been finding fragments of the meteorite even days and weeks later. Scientists say that the rock is made up of carbonaceous chondrite, a substance that had been known to store both minerals and organic materials. The organic portion of the rock consists of amino acids which are the monomers of proteins. Amino acids in our body are produced through the biological processes of transcription and translation in which RNA copies sections of our DNA. They are then translated into an amino acid sequence by organelles called ribosomes. Once the amino acids undergo several stages of protein folding, the initial gene from the DNA is expressed as a protein. The proteins will perform their respective functions in the body and the process is repeated. Proteins are one of the most essential players in an organism so it is quite fascinating to see how they can be contained within a non-living thing.

This carbonaceous chondrite classification of meteorites is one of the most rare forms to be found on Earth and only 51 have ever been recorded to have fallen to Earth in the past. This particular meteorite is predicted to have survived due to the incredibly slow speed, at 8 miles per hour, it fell to Earth at. The finder of the rock was also credited with doing a wonderful job in the collection process. Despite being completely unaware of the rock’s real identity, the individual made sure to bag the rock and set it aside and even collected smaller fragments found in the yard and garden.


Scientists are restless with excitement at the fact that they get to be one of the first few people to analyze this rare entity so soon after its arrival on the planet. The Natural History Museum in London has provided the insight that the meteorite highly resembles samples returned to Earth by the Japanese Hayabusa2 Mission. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency stated that their team managed to retrieve about 5.4 grams of substance from the asteroid Ryugu. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is also tasked to find and collect similar space rock substances, so this new discovery has come as a shock and surprise to many involved with space exploration. 

This fiery spectacle has been a big step for scientists to discover more about the early history of the Earth and our solar system. In the coming weeks and months, we are yet to see what the findings of these individuals will be.



References and Sources

Carbonaceous chondrite. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2021, from

Gater, W. (2021, March 09). Meteorite recovered in the UK after spectacular fireball in the sky. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from

Hunt, K. (2021, March 09). Rare meteorite that fell on UK driveway may Contain ‘ingredients for life’. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from

Lewis, S. (2021, March 09). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of SPECTACULAR U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life”. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from

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