A car that was found with a mysterious hole in its roof was probably not hit by a meteorite after tests found the stone recovered inside it to be a piece of common gravel.
Emergency services were called to the scene in Strasbourg last week in response to a callout due to smoke coming out of a gaping hole in a car roof.
Neighbours had reported hearing a ‘boom’ at around 7:00 on November 20.
However on examining the car, firemen found no explanation for the damage.
Their initial hypothesis was that a meteorite might have struck the roof and either been vaporised or turned to dust on impact.
The firemen found a small stone inside the car’s reservoir which they sent to the Mineralogy department at the University of Strasbourg for analysis.
Barbara Gollain, lead scientist at the department, told The Connexion last week that she was sceptical that stone was related to the damage.
Her analysis has since confirmed that the small stone was indeed just a piece of gravel.
“Following initial observations with a binocular microscope, the stone measuring around 1.5cm showed none of the characteristics of a meteorite,” said Ms Gollain’s report.
The stone proved to be sedimentary and covered by crystalised strands of hydrocarbon - a piece of gravel from the road.
What could have caused the hole in the car’s roof?
The probability of a meteorite hitting a car is around 100 billion to one each year, says the report.
Indeed it mentions that there is only one confirmed case of this ever happening: in Peekskill in the US in 1992.
Ms Gollain’s report states there must be more likely - or less unlikely - explanations for the damage.
“The chance of this happening is significantly lower than that of a block of ice falling from an aircraft, which can form when planes go through clouds containing ice crystals. These can then fall from the plane.”
“It could also be from a plane draining its toilets.”
Planes do not intentionally drop frozen sewage but accidents can happen:
Between 1979 and 2003 there were 27 documented incidents of this in the US alone.
In 2018, a block of ice from a plane fell through the roof of a home in Bristol in the UK.
The authorities have yet to determine an official explanation for the damage to the car’s roof.