SCIENCE
04/04/2013 11:49 am ET | Updated Jul 28, 2014

'Meteorite Capital Of Russia'? Chelyabinsk Region Petitions To Trademark Name After Meteor Crash

Russia's Chelyabinsk region wants to be known as "The Meteorite Capital of Russia."

Government officials in the region -- where a 10,000-ton meteor streaked across the sky and exploded last February, injuring hundreds -- submitted an application to Russia's patent service in order to trademark the name.

The officials also filed applications to trademark the terms "extraterrestrial" and "Chelyabinsk meteorite" as well as "Chebarkul meteorite," after a town in the region, the Russian-language news site RIA Novosti reported.

The pending trademarks are Chelyabinsk's latest attempt to take advantage of the falling space rocks and promote tourism. Shortly after the Feb. 15 blast, local residents posted online offers to sell the meteorite fragments.

"Space sent us a gift and we need to make use of it," Natalia Gritsay, the region's tourism department head, said in March.

A Chelyabinsk-based company called Patent Group has sought to trademark similar terms. Its applications are pending for "Mysterious Meteor," "Urals Meteor," and "Chebarkul Meteor."

The massive meteorite that exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains and showered debris over Chelyabinsk was the largest reported impact since 1908, when a space rock exploded over the country's Tunguska River in Siberia. The total damage from the recent meteor has been estimated at more than $30 million.

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