(AP) -- A group of scientists will board a blimp to search for meteorites that rained over California's gold country last month.
The researchers from NASA and the SETI Institute plan to depart from a Sacramento airfield sometime Thursday. From the air, they hope to spot sites where large fragments fell and follow up with a search party.
Since the meteor exploded in the atmosphere over the Sierra Nevada in late April, swarms of scientists and amateur meteorite hunters have recovered tiny pieces from the event, mostly in a region where James W. Marshall first discovered gold in California in 1848.
NASA estimates the minivan-sized meteor released energy equal to one-third the explosive force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It was seen from Sacramento to Las Vegas.
Explore further: Cassini spacecraft reveals clues about Saturn moon