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Russian meteorite fragments pop up for sale online

Purported chunks of the meteor that streaked over the Siberian sky last week are going for hundreds or thousands of dollars on eBay and Russian classifieds sites.

This little guy once packed enough of a punch to shatter a city's windows. eBay/danieldeffo

Capitalism is certainly alive and well in today's Russia, as demonstrated by the growing number of attempts to cash in on the recent and much-recorded (thanks to the help of ubiquitous Russian dashboard cams) meteor strike in Siberia.

The meteor that broke up over the city of Chelyabinsk while also producing a window-shattering sonic boom and momentarily outshining the sun has become a cash cow for many opportunistic folks now offering up purported fragments of the space stone on eBay and elsewhere online.

One eBay item that has already sold advertises quarter-size "samples from the scene of a meteorite" for $200 a pop.

That's got to make plenty of Russians thankful that the technology to vaporize rogue asteroids wasn't quite ready for action last week.

If $200's a little costly for your blood, the current bid on a handful of pebble-size pieces of the meteor allegedly composed of "stone and chondrite" is only $76.

After the meteor streaked across the sky, apparently crashing into a frozen lake more than 50 miles from Chelyabinsk, it was reported that thousands of people fanned out across the region looking for fragments and other evidence of impact.

It should go without saying that meteorite collectors should exercise a little bit of caveat emptor here, as it would be nearly impossible to verify that any spacey-looking rock is actually from the great Russian meteor of 2013 before making a purchase online.

With prices rising into the thousands of dollars for some larger chunks of the meteorite, it's a likely target for online fraudsters. And if anyone offers to throw in some great deals on Viagra or Cialis with your meteorite purchase, you'll definitely want to shop elsewhere.