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

Meteorite strikes made life on Earth possible

Meteorites from the far reaches of the solar system delivered large amounts of water, carbon and volatile substances to the Earth. Only then could the Earth host life. Dr. María Isabel Varas-Reus, Dr. Stephan König, Aierken ...

Researchers seeking fragments of fireball in Ontario

Researchers are seeking the public's help in locating fragments of a fireball that shone as bright as the full moon observed by Western's All-Sky Camera Network across at 2:44 a.m. ET this morning.

What Artemis will teach us about living, working on the moon

Humans have not had much of an opportunity to work on the moon. The 12 Apollo astronauts who got to explore its surface clocked in 80 hours in total of discovery time. From their brief encounters, and from extensive analyses ...

Modeling early meteorite impacts on the moon

As our solar system was forming nearly four and a half billion years ago, a planet-sized object struck the early Earth, leading to the formation of the moon, possibly from a hot, spinning cloud of rock vapor called a synestia. ...

Santorini volcano, a new terrestrial analogue of Mars

The Greek island of Santorini is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, but 3,600 years ago it suffered one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. Among the material that was ...

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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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