Meteorites don’t always announce their arrival, but the one bearing down on Canada on Jan. 18, 2000, was not shy. Plunging toward the ground in a roaring fireball, it took aim at Lake Tagish in the British Columbia mountains and this being winter smashed itself into fragments on the lake’s icy surface.
It wasn’t until Jan. 25 and 26 that scientists could travel to the site and collect bits of what was once a meteorite measuring perhaps 13 ft. across. Those fragments have been kept frozen to preserve any organic compounds that may have been riding aboard the rock when it crashed and are periodically subjected to scientific analysis. The latest of those studies was published this week in the journal Science, and what the new investigators reported was eye opening: biology may have been incubating on asteroids long before it arose on Earth.