Chennai: It remains a mystery whether an object that fell from the skies into an engineering college campus in Vellore was a meteorite or not.
While the Tamil Nadu government declared on Sunday that it was indeed a meteorite, space scientists are not yet ready to say so without necessary tests.
“We are not yet saying it is an object from outside the planet,” an official of the Physical Research Laboratory under the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on condition of anonymity.
A meteorite is debris from an asteroid or a comet that survives despite an impact with the earth’s surface.
On the other hand, a police official in Vellore told IANS: “The object recovered from the college garden is attracted to magnet. It is small in size and like melted iron.”
Kamaraj, employed as a driver with Bharathidasan Engineering College in Natrampalli in Vellore district, around 170 km from here, was killed and three others were injured in an explosion after a burning object fell from the sky on February 6.
Police said Kamaraj and others were hit by splinters due to the impact of the unknown object which also created a three-feet wide crater.
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Police said the fragments of material embedded in Kamaraj’s body had been sent for forensic analysis and the post-mortem report would be finalised only after the receipt of the analysis report.
On Sunday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa announced Rs.1 lakh for Kamaraj’s family and compensation of Rs.25,000 each to the three injured.
Meanwhile, scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, have been deputed to study the issue.