An Indonesian Man Got Way More Than He Bargained For When A Meteorite Hit His House

Ever hear the one about the Indonesian coffin maker who had a meteorite crash into his house? Yes, that does sound like the premise for a joke. According to Vice, though, that very thing happened in 2020 to an Indonesian man named Josua Hutagalung. Most might expect that if an object from outer space were ever to land on their home, then what might come next could be bad. But in Hutagalung's case, that strange sequence of events likely changed his family's life for the better.

According to Business Today, Hutagalung really is a coffin maker. He was working outside his home when he heard a loud crash. As Hutagalung put it (via Business Today), the sound was so loud it shook parts of his house. As he investigated what had happened, he found the tin roof of his home was broken. What had caused the damage, the man discovered, was a meteorite. What Hutagalung did next is what many of us might do in the same situation: He took pictures of what he discovered and posted them to social media.

The meteorite was still warm

According to the Planetary Science Institute, some 500 meteorites, such as the one that hit Hutagalung's home in 2020, crash into the Earth each year, but far fewer than that are recovered. In Hutagalung's case, the meteorite that damaged his home weighed about 4.6 pounds and was still warm from its entry through the Earth's atmosphere.

There are a few different types of meteorites, and most contain iron-nickel metal with trace amounts of sulfide and carbide minerals. Hutagalung's meteorite, though, was rare, made from carbon carbonaceous. It was estimated to have been flying around space for some 4.5 billion years before it came to rest in Hutagalung's dwelling. According to Business Today's 2020 report, carbon carbonaceous traded for about $800 a gram, and at roughly 4.6 pounds, or a bit more than 2,000 grams, that made Hutagalung' discovery potentially worth quite a lot, according to Convert Wizard. Because of its rarity, it wasn't long before Hutagalung's posts drew some interest.

Hutagalung sold the meteorite

Based on further reporting from Metro, Hutagalung sold his rare meteorite find for £1.4 million — about $1.8 million in 2020 (via Currency Converter) — clearly more than enough to fix his roof, or to buy himself and family a whole new home, instead. As Business Today goes on to note, Hutagalung sold his space rock to a U.S. collector who then resold it, and it now resides in the Buseck Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University.

The total dollar amount Hutagalung pocketed is only an estimate, though, as he declined to disclose to the public just how large his financial windfall really was. According to Vice, he told the BBC he sold it for $14,000 plus home repair costs, though that's not likely true. The $1.8 million estimate is also in doubt and likely too much for the meteorite market to bear. What's for certain, though, is that Hutagalung said the amount he was paid for the object was 30 times his annual salary, according to Business Today, and he kept the true dollar amount secret because that much wealth could put him in danger and draw even more attention to his family — not only from the media, but possibly criminals as well.