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PARIS, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - Six fragments of the famous Chelyabinsk meteorite were handed over to National Museum of Natural History in Paris on Tuesday.
Maria Grossman, a representative of Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, had taken the pieces with a total weight of 95 grams, to Paris. In addition to the fragments that were officially handed over by the Chelyabinsk regional authorities and the Urals Federal University, the local residents also sent to France their own meteorite finds.
"The Chelyabinsk meteorite fragments will occupy a worthy place in our collection, which is one of the world biggest and has 4,000 items,” Tomas Grenon, director of the National Museum of Natural History, said at the handover ceremony. He said that the meteorite gift would contribute to developing cooperation with Russian universities on the whole and the Urals Federal University in particular.
Brigitte Zanda, the museum’s meteorite specialist, told Itar-Tass that the Chelyabinsk meteorite was of great scientific value. "The splinters which we now have at our disposal will contribute to the studies of history and results of meteorite collisions with other space and celestial bodies. They are particularly valuable because they were observed in their fall and were found immediately after they had touched the ground. Their exposure to earthy environment, including weather conditions, was minimal,” Brigitte Zanda explained.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite entered the atmosphere near the Urals on February 15, 2013. It exploded prior to reaching the Earth’s surface. In April 2013, the directorate of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris sent an official letter to the Chelyabinsk region with a request to grant a meteorite fragment for its collection.
The French National Museum of Natural History was founded by Cardinal Richelieu in 1635. The museum has 62 items. Its collection is the oldest in the world and also the third biggest by the number of exhibits.