Scientists have confirmed that the strange, silvery rock that tore a hole in the roof and landed on the bathroom of the Nageswaran family more than a week ago had been a meteorite.

Although about 50 extraterrestrial rocks crash on Earth regularly, it rarely strikes homes.

"The fact that something from outer space hit our house ... it's overwhelming," Shankari Nageswaran said in an interview.

Shankari and her husband, Srinivasan Nageswaran, are from India and have been living in Freehold Township since 2003.

It was the night of Jan. 2, when Srinivasan went into his bathroom and saw the hole in the ceiling along with chunks of drywall and insulation scattered around the area.

After cleaning up the bathroom, Shankari had found a metallic sparkly rock about the size of a golf ball but heavier at 13 ounces.

Two geologists from Rutgers University and an independent metallurgist confirmed that the rock - tentatively called "Freehold Township" - was an iron meteorite.

"It could have done great damage and destruction," Srinivasan Nageswaran marveled. "It could have hurt our people."

Every meteorite serves as a "poor man's space probe," yielding information on how the solar system formed, said Tim McCoy, curator of the Smithsonian Institution's meteorite collection.

"There's been fewer than 5,000 meteorites found over the surface of the Earth in the recorded history of mankind," McCoy added. "Every time we get a new one, it's an important event."

Meteorites that land on buildings are priced at thousands of dollars.

The Nageswarans have not yet decided what to do with it. "There are other dimensions to it than just the absolute 'What is it worth?'" Shankari Nageswaran said.