How to Become a Meteorite Hunter
A meteorite hunter scours the globe to discover the remnants of meteorites that have fallen from the sky. If you're interested in space and science, and like to be outdoors, then you might like to become a meteorite hunter.
Some meteorite hunters are actually scientists, such as geologists or atmospheric scientists who look for fallen meteorites as a part of larger research projects, however there are also many hobbyists who travel the world looking for newly fallen meteorites.
Education Requirements to Become a Meteorite Hunter
The education you need to become a meteorite hunter will depend on whether you are looking for a career or a hobby.
If you would like to become a hobbyist, you simply need to develop the skills to find a meteorite. You can do this on your own by reading books and even surfing the internet. You might also be able to talk to an actual meteorite hunter and have them teach you the required skills.
Scientists such as geologists, meteorologists, and atmospheric scientists may search for meteorites as a part of their own research projects. If you are looking at this kind of work you will need a college education. You would need to complete a bachelors degree with a major in the field of interest, such as geology.
To work in research, you would need some postgraduate education also. This could consist of a masters degree program, which would allow you to work as a research assistant. If you wanted to head your own projects then you would need to complete a doctorate. Many researchers are employed as college professors.
Meteorite Hunter Job Description
Finding a newly fallen meteorite might seem like it's a simple task. A flaming hunk of rock falling through the sky has got to be easy to locate, right? Wrong. Meteorite hunting is actually very difficult. Generally, if a meteorite is not discovered within a few months, it will be disguised by soil and plant life and almost impossible to discover.
One of the most common ways to discover a meteorite is with the use of a metal detector. This will detect the large deposits of iron and other metals that exist in most meteorites. Ground penetrating radar and even land mine detectors are needed to find meteors that do not have enough iron or nickel in them to be found with a standard metal detector.
When you become a meteorite hunter, you might relocate to an arctic or desert region. As there is less vegetation and soil movement, it is far easier to detect meteorites in these locations.
Meteorite Hunter Salary and Career Path
If you become a meteorite hunter that does this as a hobby, it's likely that you will do some other work during the year to make an income, but you can make some money on the side meteorite hunting by selling your findings to collectors and scientists. You could also take photos and video of the meteorites you find to sell to news and media agencies.
Some meteorites weigh just a few hundred grams, while others can weigh in at hundreds of kilograms. Their value too is variable. Some may sell for as much as one million dollars. A meteorite which falls on a manmade object such as a building or a car is called a hammer stone. These are worth more money than other meteorites.
Recently, a meteorite that was discovered was sold for over a million dollars. With this figure in mind it's easy to see why many people are attracted to meteorite hunting. In reality, it can take years of hard work to make a major discovery.
Working as a scientist, you'll receive a far more stable income. For instance, the median wage of a geologist is $75,000 a year. It will take far longer to start your research work. You will need to start as a research assistant, then go on to teaching positions and work towards tenure.
Some similar jobs to meteorite hunter include:
- Atmospheric scientist
- Storm chaser
- College professor
If your passionate about space, discovering fallen meteorites, and science, then you might like to become a meteorite hunter. While you may face many long days coming up with nothing, making a discovery can be very rewarding.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics