Space Rock Worth Thousands Stirs Ownership Debate

This dispute is out of this world.

A Virginia doctor and the landlord of his office building may have to battle in court over who owns a meteorite that landed in the doctor's office last month.

Dr. Marc Gallini says the tennis ball-sized space rock came crashing through the ceiling of an examination room, near the spot where he had been sitting a short while earlier.

Gallini and his colleague handed over the meteorite to the Smithsonian for safe keeping. Then the building's landlord sent him an e-mail, notifying him that legally the rock becomes part of where it lands after it falls from the sky, and therefore is the landowner's property.

The Smithsonian says it'll keep the meteorite until a legal owner is determined.

The collectors market for meteorites can be lucrative.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Vance on Feb 3, 2010 at 10:31 AM
    It belongs to the guy paying the rent.He is responsilbe for anything that happens but is not responsible for damages (not unless he done damages hiself).For instance if I am paying rent for a lot and somebody happens to plant weed on that property I am responsible.I will be the one getting locked up even not knowing the weed was ever there.Possession is 9/10ths of the law.
  • by CherryCracker Kool-Aid Location: CA on Feb 3, 2010 at 09:17 AM
    Yes, it is the property of the renter at that point, unless the land owner had terminated the lease prior to the incident. LOL It's so silly. It's all about greed. The good Dr. did the right thing in turning it over to science. I suppose it would be cool to say you own one but... what's it going to do, collect dust? If it was worth enough to pay off my mortgage, I guess I would be looking at selling it. :->
  • by Darren Location: Kill Devil Hills on Feb 3, 2010 at 07:28 AM
    If it came through after the doctor began to rent the land, that would be then the doctor's right to the rock. I don't blame the landlord for claimimg it considering it is his land, but when it comes down to it, Anonymous at 2-3 9:10 am is right, it's just like if someone left that 100 dollar bill in the waiting room. Also finders keepers losers weepers! That's how the saying goes.
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Feb 3, 2010 at 06:27 AM
    It should be left at the Smithsonian and put in a nice protected display for all to see and enjoy. Stop the greed
  • by Anonymous Location: greenville on Feb 3, 2010 at 06:10 AM
    well if the occupant is paying rent then it should be his rock. For example if someone drops a $100 bill in the waiting room and no one claims it it must be turned over to the landlord? i think not
  • by Jim Location: SC on Feb 3, 2010 at 06:03 AM
    You have GOT to be kiddding me!!!!
  • by to landlord on Feb 3, 2010 at 05:12 AM
    Finders keepers...
  • by Certain on Feb 3, 2010 at 03:34 AM
    It belongs to God.
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