Anniversary celebrations ready for blast off

By John Lewis

The meteorite that broke up in the skies above Murchison in 1969 is still, after 50 years, providing material for scientific study and unlocking mysteries of our solar system.

It is one of the world's most extensively studied meteorites because of its rarity and its mass — about 100kg. It was later found to contain many amino acids — the building blocks of life.

Murchison and District Historical Society president Kay Ball said at 4.6 billion years old, the Murchison meteorite is older than the sun and fragments are held in museums across the world, including at Murchison's Heritage Centre.

She said the meteorite still generates interest.

“Scientists still knock on our door — the meteorite hasn't diminished in its scientific value. It keeps Murchison on the map,” she said.

Mrs Ball said guest speakers at the 50th anniversary celebrations include cosmo-chemist Philipp Heck, curator of meteoritics at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, who has described the Murchison meteorite as a "treasure trove" for science because it contains so much unaltered material from the very early solar system.

She said the anniversary celebrations have generated "an enourmous amount of interest" and the Dinner Under the Stars opening event on Friday, September 27 is sold out.

Mrs Ballsaid a committee with a core of eight members has been working hard for about two years planning the celebrations.

She thanked Greater Shepparton City Council for its support.