If there were a prize for distance traveled during the filming of a TV series, Geoffrey Notkin and Steve Arnold would have to be in the running for it. The duo has just completed production on Season 2 of their “Meteorite Men” show, and, Notkin reports, “We crunched the numbers and we’ve gone 60,000 miles since we started this season. We went to the ends of the earth, literally, to make Season 2.”
Their quest for space rocks took them from the high desert of Chile to Sweden, to Australia and the U.S.A.. Just last week, they got to go to “a very, very secret site with very restricted access, controlled by the U.S. military,” says Arnold. “We had to go through the Pentagon to be able to get in. It’s something we’ve been working on for several months, on and off.” (Season 2 of “Meteorite Men” launches Nov. 2 on the Science Channel.)
After years as meteorite hunters, they’re thrilled with the increase in access that comes with the instant credibility of having a Discovery Channels show. Their production has gotten bigger, too. “We’ve really seen that change between Seasons 1 and 2,” says Notkin. “In the first season, we shot only in North America and there were six or seven of us in the field. For the new season, going to especially remote international locations, we’d have 12 or 14.” They also had to bring along such niceties as a chef and a shower – and freshly-charged equipment. “Steve and I might not mind roughing it, but our crew doesn’t want to rough it that much,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Notkin and Arnold have whipped up a lot of meteorite treasure hunting fever amongst viewers. They’ve had lots of offers from fans who want to serve as part of their support team. (In fact, they’ve delayed plans for offering meteorite adventure trips because they’ve been too busy with the show.)
They receive “hundreds of packages of rocks” from treasure seekers, hoping the experts will confirm genuine meteorite finds. They rarely do, but there have been a few successes. “One was a complete new discovery from Kansas,” says Arnold. “This man found an unusual rock on his large spread of farmland. We asked him to cut off a little and send it to us. He had a 70-pound meteorite that was entirely new to science.”