Ernst Schäfer was a good scientist and a good Nazi. In 1938-39 he led a German expedition to Tibet sponsored by SS leader Heinrich Himmler, who was fascinated by Aryan culture. Although Schäfer specialized in the study of birds, and indeed took many bird speciments with him back to Germany, the most extraordinary artifact turned out to be of extraterrestrial origin. When he or one of his expedition members discovered an ancient Buddhist statue with a swastika—the ancient Indian luck symbol adopted by the Nazis as their symbol and now tainted by their legacy—prominently displayed on the chest, they couldn’t help but bring it back. At least that is the most plausible explanation of how it came to Munich, where it was held in privately owned obscurity until it was auctioned off in 2009.
When scientists analyzed the statue last year, they found that it was carved from a meteoric fragment. The 10kg iron statue showed a composition indicating it came from an ataxite meteorite, the rarest kind of meteorite. It is believed to be 1,000 years old and depicts a Buddhist deity. It may have come from the Chinga meteorite, which fell near the border between Siberia and Mongolia ten to twenty thousand years ago.