Car news: Meteorite Crashes into Chevy Malibu

On October 9, 1992, something extraordinary happened in Peekskill, New York. Michelle Knapp, an 18-year-old, was watching television in her parents’ living room when she heard a tremendous crash outside. Curious and concerned, she rushed to the driveway to investigate. What she discovered was both astounding and bewildering: a significant hole in the back of her orange 1980 Chevy Malibu, a matching hole in the gravel driveway underneath, and nestled within the hole was a seemingly ordinary rock, the size of a bowling ball. This rock, however, was far from ordinary. It was heavy, football-shaped, warm to the touch, and emitted a faint scent of rotten eggs. The following day, experts from the American Museum of Natural History confirmed that it was, in fact, a genuine meteorite.

Unveiling the Mystery of Meteorites

Meteors, fragments of asteroids and other space debris comprised of rock, iron, and nickel, have been orbiting the Earth for billions of years. Every day, approximately 100 pounds of meteoric material bombard our planet. These celestial marvels range in size from tiny specks of dust to colossal masses stretching up to 10 miles across. Most meteors, however, are about the size of a baseball. Observers who gaze at the night sky can spot these meteors with relative ease. Upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere, they streak across the heavens like fiery balls of light. It’s worth noting that what many people refer to as “shooting stars” are, in fact, meteors.

The greenish Peekskill meteorite, which caused quite a spectacle as it hurtled towards Michelle Knapp’s Malibu, captivated thousands of spectators across the eastern United States. Its descent was visible to the naked eye, and the accompanying sound was likened to the crackling of a remarkably loud sparkler. Scientists have determined that this extraordinary meteorite originated from the inner edge of the main asteroid belt, nestled between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.

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A Rare Encounter

While meteorites themselves are relatively common, the collision of a meteorite with a car is exceedingly rare. In the vastness of our planet, cars are minuscule objects. To date, there have only been two recorded instances of a meteorite striking a car—once in Illinois during the 1930s and another time in St. Louis.

Michelle Knapp’s newfound fame did not stop with the discovery of the meteorite. Eventually, it was sold to collectors and fossil dealers who broke it into smaller chunks, distributing them among a select group of collectors and museums. As for the Malibu, it found a new owner in Lang’s Fossils and Meteorites in Cranford, New Jersey, fetching a hefty price of $10,000. This peculiar car has since been exhibited in New York, Paris, Munich, and Tokyo, captivating audiences worldwide.


Q: How often do meteorites collide with Earth’s surface?
A: Scientists estimate that our planet is bombarded with approximately 100 pounds of meteoric material each day. However, the likelihood of a meteorite striking a car or any other small object is incredibly low.

Q: Are there any documented instances of meteorites hitting other objects apart from cars?
A: While rare, there have been instances of meteorites impacting buildings, trees, and other structures. However, such occurrences are sporadic and infrequent.


The phenomenal event that occurred in Peekskill, New York, on that unforgettable day in 1992 reminds us of the wonders that lie beyond our planet. Meteorites, like the one that collided with Michelle Knapp’s Chevy Malibu, offer a glimpse into the mysterious vastness of our universe. As car enthusiasts, we’re reminded that even the most unexpected encounters can leave an indelible mark on the automotive world. So, let us continue to revel in the awe-inspiring wonders that both the Earth and the cosmos have to offer.

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