JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The entire world is watching as the Mars rover sends back pictures of the red planet. But what most people don't know is, there could be space history right here in our area.
A local scientist believes a meteor hit our area and actually helped carve out a portion of one of Jacksonville's most famous parks.
Spend a few minutes with Jay Huebner and you'll find out just how smart the guy is. In a short walk, he spanned subjects from aerospace engineering to physics. But when he arrived to the Round Marsh in the Timucuan Preserve, his passion for knowledge poured out.
It turns out, according to Huebner, an out of-this-world discovery is sitting right under our noses.
"It entered the earth and, like a nuclear detonation under the earth, it created very high pressure gas and it blew the material that's here out around the landscape," said Huebner.
The UNF physics researcher holds rock-solid beliefs that an asteroid smashed into the surface of the earth right here in Jacksonville.
It was 1564 and European settlers recorded two accounts of the incident: a stroke of lightning that consumed about 500 acres; and a comet as bright as the sun streaking west toward Florida. Huebner believes the two are one in the same.
"A strike of lightning, bolder and more energetic that had ever been recorded in history" said Huebner. "It incinerated birds, set fire that burned and smoked for days."
Now, he needs roughly $10,000 for his team to dig below the marsh and make the discovery. If asteroid pieces are found, Huebner says Jacksonville would be home to the most accessible meteor crater on the planet.
"How many people would come? I think, in the heat of the summer, it'd be thousands of people a day."