Cops Say Meteorite Appears to Have Smashed New Jersey House

Direct Hit

A possible meteorite struck a house in Hopewell, New Jersey on Monday.

Though the 4-inch-by-6-inch object hasn't been officially confirmed to be a space rock, it certainly looks like one. The timing also makes sense: according to a Hopewell Township Police Department report, it's believed that the incident may be related to the Eta Aquariids, a meteor shower that reportedly reached its peak in the early morning this past Saturday.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident. That's lucky, considering that the rock fully smashed through the roof and landed on the New Jersey family's hardwood floor — but not before pingponging chaotically around the room.

"It appears whatever came from the sky fell through the roof of the top window that's my dad's bedroom," Suzy Kop, a member of the affected family, told CBS Philadelphia. "We are thinking it's a meteorite, came through here, hit the floor here because that's completely damaged, it ricocheted up to this part of the ceiling and then finally rested on the floor there."

"I did touch the thing because it thought it was a random rock, I don't know," she continued, "and it was warm."

Rock Puppet

Though scientists estimate that dozens of tons of meteoric material enter the Earth's atmosphere every day, few space rocks actually make it past our atmosphere intact. If the metallic object that hit the Hopewell home is indeed a chunk of cosmic rock, it would mark a rare — not to mention very cool — event.

Fascinatingly, the Eta Aquariids is actually comprised of tiny chunks of space debris left by Halley's comet, the famous cosmic body that passes by Earth every 76 years.

Derrick Pitts, the chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, told CBS that the maybe-meteorite might be four or five billion years old — meaning that it may have been around at the very beginnings of our universe.

"It's been running around in space all that time, and now it's come to Earth," Pitts told the outlet. "And it fell right into their laps."

"But for it to actually strike a house, for people to be able to pick [it] up, that's really unusual," he added. "It has happened very few times in history."

More on meteorites: Scientists Find Building Blocks of Life in Meteor That Smashed into Family's Driveway