HE experienced a meteoric wealth increase.
An Indonesian man became astronomically rich after a precious meteorite worth nearly USD$2 million smashed through the veranda of his home.
“When I lifted it, the stone was still warm, and I brought it into the house,” Josua Hutagalung told local news outlet Kompas about the fortuitous find.
The 33-year-old coffin maker was reportedly working next to his home in Sumatra in August when the pricey space rock shard crashed through his home’s overhang.
“The sound was so loud that parts of the house were shaking, too,” he said.
“And after I searched, I saw that the tin roof of the house had broken.”
A clip on his Facebook page shows where the 4.5-pound meteor smashed through the awning before burying itself several inches into the dirt.
Hutagalung said he strongly suspected that the object was a meteor “because it is impossible someone deliberately threw it or dropped it from above.”
The fortune-making fragment, which is estimated to to be 4.5 billion years old, likely fetched more than enough to put a new roof over his head, the Daily Mail reported.
Classified as a CM1/2 carbonaceous chondrite — an extremely rare variety — the space rock is valued at around USD$850 per gram, or USD$1,858,556 total.
Hutagalung was reportedly paid the equivalent of 30 years salary for his find, which he said he’ll use to erect a church in his community.
“I have also always wanted a daughter, and I hope this is a sign that I will be lucky enough now to have one,” he told the Sun (UK).
The life-changing occurrence has made Hutagalung somewhat of a local celebrity with dozens flocking to his house to see his interstellar lottery ticket.
“Many people have come, out of curiosity, and want to see the stone,” he said.
The meteor also sent shockwaves through the scientific community.
“My phone lit up with crazy offers for me to jump on a plane and buy the meteorite,” described Jared Collins, an American meteor expert who purchased part of the rock.
“It was in the middle of the COVID crisis, and frankly, it was a toss-up between buying the rock for myself or working with scientists and collectors in the US.”
He continued, “I carried as much money as I could muster and went to find Josua, who turned out to be a canny negotiator.”
The meteorite has since been bought by Jay Piatek, a doctor and meteorite collector from Indianapolis.
Three other chunks of the meteorite, which has been officially named Kolang, were discovered nearby, with one landing in a paddy field fewer than 5 miles from Hutagalung’s home.
The Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, estimated that the space rock weighed around 5.5 pounds before it broke apart, according to the Daily Mail.
Thomas Djamaluddin, the head of Indonesia’s National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, said it is exceedingly rare to see meteors touch down in populated areas.
“The amount of waste rock from the formation of the solar system is very large in space,” he said.
“Most of the meteorites fall in locations far from settlements, such as oceans, forests or deserts.”