Uncommon insights from an uncommon agency

09.18.18

Touch a Falling Star

Anthony Tomaselli

To hold a piece of the Solar system in your hands may sound impossible. But with a passion for all things space related and a love for rocks… I found a way.

My childhood dream of one day becoming an astronaut was cut short when I realized I got motion sick just riding in the back of my mom’s car. There was obviously no way I could handle spaceflight. Thankfully, my grandmother, who loved natural history, introduced me to National Geographic Magazine. It was a pivotal moment in my early life that would set me on a trajectory of collecting rocks and minerals and learning about astronomy. These childhood interests would soon coalesce with my love for space!

I purchased my first meteorite at a Star Wars convention. Over the course of the next 20 years, I amassed a collection of historical and witnessed fall accounts, including pieces of the Moon, Mars, asteroids and other celestial bodies. Some of the specimens so primitive, that they were the first examples of solid matter that formed in our solar system long before the Earth. Other specimens contain within them: interstellar diamonds, water in its molecular structure, halite (salt) crystals and amino acids. Some of these amino acids aren’t even found on Earth! One of the oldest specimens in my collection is a witnessed fall from Ensisheim, France, in 1492!

My acquired knowledge of the universe and connecting with the right people have given me the opportunity to prepare specimens for dealers and institutions. Two shining moments for me have been cutting and polishing a 400-pound iron meteorite for Harvard University’s meteorite collection and preparing a giant slice of a very rare type of meteorite that now resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Both pieces are on permanent display in their respective institutions. I was able to share one of these proud moments with my daughters when I accompanied them on their class trip to the AMNH. I’m hoping one day that this will inspire my girls to reach for the stars.

 

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