SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Two men who met at a gem show years ago have parlayed their shared interests to become a successful team of U.S. meteorite hunters.
Phil Mani said that before he met professional meteorite hunter Steve Arnold at the 2000 gem show, he never imagined making a living tracking down space debris, The San Antonio (Texas) Express-News reported Sunday.
"This is a much easier and much simpler way to sample the solar system," Mani said. "These rocks come to us."
Mani and Arnold have found a 1,410-pound meteorite that likely crashed-landed more than 10,000 years ago and could fetch $700,000 at an upcoming auction.
While the two are anxious to sell the meteorite and continue their meteor-hunting ways, Mani said seeing it on display during a recent U.S. tour changed his thinking about where the meteorite belongs.
"Knowing you made someone stop and contemplate this wonderful object is just a wonderful feeling," he told the Express-News. "It doesn't belong in a private collection."