In the late 1990s the worlds of meteorite research and meteorite collecting were changed forever when abundant new finds starting being made in the dry deserts of Northwest Africa — primarily Morocco, Algeria, and Libya. The ancient, hard, flat, dry surfaces commonplace in those areas lent themselves well to both the preservation and the recovery of new meteorites, some of which had been lying there for tens of thousands of years or more. The influx of Northwest African (NWA) meteorites meant many rare types that had been of limited availability to researchers — and scarcely available at all to collectors — could now be much more widely studied, and enjoyed by enthusiasts. When a new meteorite falls from the sky, or is found at some later date, it is traditionally named after the nearest town to the fall site. But there are comparatively few towns in the hot deserts of Northwest Africa and, since many new meteorites were picked up by nomads or amateur hunters, detailed find locations were not always recorded. As a result, a new naming and numbering system was adopted by academia, which included the acronym “NWA” for Northwest Africa, together with a number. For example, the fascinating NWA 869 was the 869th Northwest African find to be classified and recognized by meteorite scientists. Stone meteorites known as chondrites are the most abundant of any meteorite type and they are designed by letters and numbers: L or H for low or high iron and numbers from 3 to 7 indicating the condition of the chondrules they contain (the lower the number, the more pristine the chondrules). Chondrules are tiny, grain-like spheroids, often of widely-differing colors. They are believed to have formed in the solar nebula disk before the planets in our solar system and are never found in Earth rocks. They are survivors from the very beginning of our own solar system and, as such, are an amazing glimpse back through billions of years of astronomical time. Chondrites are also usually rich in metal flakes of nickel-iron.