This feature is devoted each month to one of the personalities within the meteorite community. This month we are delighted to share an interview we had with Michael Johnson of SPACE ROCKS, INC.
 

What or who got you interested in meteorites and how old were you when you got your first meteorite?
 
My interest started while observing the Perseid meteor shower. Was around 18 at the time and thought how cool it would be to actually be able to hold a rock from outer space in my hands. One day I was looking through the pages of Sky & Telescope magazine and came across Robert Haag's Meteorite ad. I immediately ordered his catalog with all the fine pictures and have been hooked ever since.
 
What was your first meteorite?
 
My first meteorite was and is still a favorite of mine. A 1361 gram Canyon Diablo Iron from  the "Meteorite Man" Robert Haag.
 


Canyon Diablo, Arizona. 1,361 grams.

 

Do you still have it?

Yes, although I've made attempts to sell it, I do still have it in my collection.
 
Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?
 
No, my parents think its a waist of money! I explain what a great hobby it is as well as a great investment but they still don't get it.
 
Do you have any special approaches to collecting? (Type collection, only stones, only irons, only by aesthetics, etc., or any and all that you like.)
 
Although I started out with mainly smaller specimens my interest has grown to collecting the larger ones. Mainly the BIG irons like Gibeon, Sikhote-Alin etc.
I have a small room set up called my "Showroom". Its sorta like a mini museum



Michael's Showroom

 

Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?
 
Only about a dozen or so. Since I am interested in larger specimens the number of localities is small.
 
Is your collection displayed or kept in a dry box or both?
 
Its displayed through out a small room in my home. I like to have them displayed around the room where I can always see them.
 
In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?
 
I use it mainly for hunting space rocks, dealer websites,ebay etc. I also use it for something new I've started about 5 months
ago now called "ROCKS FROM SPACE PICTURE OF THE DAY"  Members from the meteorite list send me there favorite meteorite pics and I post them on a daily basis. It's a good way for collectors to share there collection.
 
Do you ever hunt for meteorites?
 
Would like to one day but haven't made the time or effort to yet.
 
What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?
 
All are a favorite but if I had to choose it would be between my 5000 gram Sikhote-Alin and a 10.5 kilo Gibeon, both purchased from Jim Strope of "Catchafallingstar.com".


Sikhote-Alin, USSR. 5000 grams. Coursest octahedrite

 

 
GIBEON, Namibia Africa. 10.5 kilograms. Fine octahedrite. Discovered 1836.
Purchase from Jim Strope of Catch A Falling Star.

 

What makes these of special interest?
 
The history, but most of all the way they look. They look like what you imagine a rock from outer space should look like.
 
What meteorites are currently on your wish list?
 
None at the moment. I search the web and if I see one that I like I decide then.
 
What methods have been most successful in building your collection?  (Buying at shows, from dealers by mail, auctions on the web, trading... etc)
 
I owe a lot of credit to my collection to Jim Strope. He's been really helpful. I purchased my first sikhote-alin from him in 1997 and have been dealing with him ever since. He's really one of the best if not the best in the business.
 
Have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?
 
I have had pretty good luck with my big irons. I did have to let a 32 kilo Campo go because it started flaking, rusting etc. That was one of the first ones found. I think the newer Campos hold up better against the environment. As a precaution I do WIPe them down with a gun cloth from time to time.