It's 4.5 billion years old, traveled untold millions of miles through outer space before it fell to Earth and you can touch it beginning Saturday at the Museum of Science & History.
It's a 22-pound meteorite and part of the museum's new feature exhibit, "Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites."
"To be able to touch something that was in outer space is a rare experience," said Thomas Webber, director of the museum's Bryan-Gooding Planetarium and Alexander Brest Space Theater.
The exhibit has more than 20 interactive stations that allow visitors to learn about objects that fly through space and sometimes intersect with Earth.
The presentation is divided into four areas: origins, asteroids, comets and impacts. The exhibit details the facts about comets, asteroids and meteors and how they have helped shape our world and how they might change it in the future.
Webber said the timing for the exhibit couldn't be better because in late October or early November, Comet ISON is expected to pass near Earth and might be visible, even during the day.
"It all depends on how much it melts as it passes close to the sun," Webber said.
Also concurrent with the exhibit is a new planetarium show, "Dinosaurs at Dusk," that explains how most of the dinosaurs became extinct following a meteor impact 66 million years ago.
The exhibit will be in the gallery on the museum's second floor through Dec. 31.
To learn more about "Great Balls of Fire," visit killerasteroids.org or greatballsoffireexhibit.org.
Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 3 through 12, military and seniors. There is no admission fee for children 2 and under or museum members. Admission is $5 on Friday. For more information, visit themosh.org.
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