On our return to Alice Springs from Uluru, with plans totally changed we decided to have a look at the Henbury Meteorite crater site. The area is pretty desolate, dry, dusty, very rocky and only small shrubs interspersed throughout the barren landscape. The campsite was fine, right next to the meteorite crater site so a quick exploration was required before sunset.
Having seen the gigantic meteorite at Wolfe Creek earlier in our trip I wasn’t expecting much of this place, however it did have a few surprises in store for us. Firstly I was surprised to read that NASA astronauts have visited the site to get a feel for the lunar landscape. It sounded more like a junket to me. The meteor itself smashed into the atmosphere approximately 4,000 years ago, but unlike Wolfe Creek this one split into several pieces, the largest being the size of a 200l oil drum. Four of these pieces hit the ground next to one another while the other eight or so remnants hit the earth some distance to the south (not immediately visible from where we stood).
Two of the craters had overlapped into a single large crater, almost 200m across, and the remnants of the walls between them was only visible from spurs jutting into the crater on opposite sides, the fused rock having been more resistant to erosion.
Walking through the middle the kids pointed out a “dead finish” bush, so hardy that if it dies then everything else will be dead or finished too. The two adjacent craters were smaller, one quite dry and devoid of plant life, the other quite the opposite. The last crater apparently retains water well offering an oasis for a small stand of trees that occupy the circumference of the base. The base, now dry, was covered in a thick mat of grasses, and a patio of cracked dried mud. When full it must offer a refuge for many birds and animals.
With little else to do here it was a good opportunity for Amanda to cook some muffins on the Weber and the kids to catch up on their homework, while I attended to some much needed maintenance on the trailer.
The sun set and we sat back to enjoy the spectacularly clear night sky show, with satellites passing far above us in all directions, the band of the milky way stretching across the sky, and a million stars twinkling brightly at us from across the universe.