Related topics: earth · asteroid · solar system · nasa · mars

Tiny fragment of a comet found inside a meteorite

A tiny piece of the building blocks from which comets formed has been discovered inside a primitive meteorite. The discovery by a Carnegie Institution of Science-led team, including a researcher now at Arizona State University, ...

Life on Mars?

According to NASA, scientists are in agreement that there is no life on Mars. However, they continue to assess whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life. Now, researchers from Hungary have ...

Martian meteorites land at Army lab

NASA officials say that some rare and distinct meteorites found on Earth were actually blasted off Mars by a large impact event. One such rock from the red planet made its way to an Army laboratory recently for a special ...

Meteorite source in asteroid belt not a single debris field

A new study published online in Meteoritics and Planetary Science finds that our most common meteorites, those known as L chondrites, come from at least two different debris fields in the asteroid belt. The belt contains ...

The composition of ancient meteorites

A team of Japanese and American scientists has visualized meteorite components at higher resolution than ever before. Their efforts have resulted in an enhanced understanding of substances inside carbonaceous chondrites, ...

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Meteorite

A meteorite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives an impact with the Earth's surface. While in space it is called a meteoroid. When it enters the atmosphere, impact pressure causes the body to heat up and emit light, thus forming a fireball, also known as a meteor or shooting star. The term bolide refers to either an extraterrestrial body that collides with the Earth, or to an exceptionally bright, fireball-like meteor regardless of whether it ultimately impacts the surface.

More generally, a meteorite on the surface of any celestial body is a natural object that has come from elsewhere in space. Meteorites have been found on the Moon and Mars.

Meteorites that are recovered after being observed as they transited the atmosphere or impacted the Earth are called falls. All other meteorites are known as finds. As of mid-2006, there are approximately 1,050 witnessed falls having specimens in the world's collections. In contrast, there are over 31,000 well-documented meteorite finds.

Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and, stony-iron meteorites contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material. Modern classification schemes divide meteorites into groups according to their structure, chemical and isotopic composition and mineralogy. See meteorites classification.

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