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

Shocked meteorites provide clues to Earth's lower mantle

Deep below the Earth's surface lies a thick rocky layer called the mantle, which makes up the majority of our planet's volume. While Earth's mantle is too deep for humans to observe directly, certain meteorites can provide ...

International team starts on drilling expedition

The Earth's Cenozoic Era began 66 million years ago with a bang—and with the last mass extinction event on Earth until now. The meteorite impact that marked the end of the Cretaceous Period and the beginning of the Cenozoic ...

Meteorites lend clues to solar system's origin

The isotopic composition of meteorites and terrestrial planets holds important clues about the earliest history of the solar system and the processes of planet formation.

Meteorite-loving microorganism

Chemolithotrophic microorganisms derive their energy from inorganic sources. Research into the physiological processes of these organisms—which are grown on meteorite—provides new insights into the potential of extraterrestrial ...

Ice fossils found in meteorite

A team of researchers from Japan, China and the U.K. has found evidence of ice fossils on the surface of a meteorite. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their close-up study of the ...

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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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