By TROY FARAH
A space rock that crashed in Somalia decades ago lay partially encased in sand until 2020, when researchers dug it up and sliced into it for samples. Inside the 15 ton meteorite — the ninth largest ever found intact on this planet — were two minerals, and possibly a third, that had never before been seen on Earth. The finding could not only inform theories on how asteroids form, but inspire new forms of synthetic materials for future manufacturing.
El Ali is a small village in Somalia’s Hiiraan region, with a population under 200,000, but a long time ago it received a new visitor from space. Local camel herders have known about the large chunk of (mostly) iron, which they call “Nightfall,” for between five to seven generations. The El Ali meteorite has been “memorialized through Saar folklore, songs, dances and poems,” according to a report in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database. They even used the rock as an anvil to sharpen their knives….