In a 1938 expedition to Tibet, a Nazi-led expedition uncovered a curious statue, standing upright at just under a foot. Little did they know that this small, 9 1/2-inch sculpture, would later be revealed as the first human figure known to be carved from a material with extraterrestrial origins.
A report published this week in "Meteoritics and Planetary Science" traces the artifact back to the Chinga meteorite, which landed around the border region between Siberia and Mongolia some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Because of it's composition—primarily iron—the piece, which resembles the Buddhist god Vaiśravaṇa has been nicknamed "iron man." The statue was most likely brought back to Germany because of the swastika symbol on it's chest.
Vaiśravaṇa is said to be the guardian of the north on the mythical 24,000-foot-tall mountain Sumeru. He's often depicted with jewels—a sign of generosity. Now that the scientists have discovered his otherworldly origins, perhaps "iron man" will be generously returned to his (terrestrial) origins. His homeland in Tibet, or Sumeru both sound like good options.