What Is So Special About Meteorites

The Earth’s mass is 6,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 kilograms, roughly speaking and that is a lot of kilos. But tomorrow it will be just a little greater. Because today like everyday some rocks and dust fall into our gravity well and get caught. Most of this material will end up in the oceans since three-fourths of the Earth is covered by water. But, the rest will fall on the ground. The dust will never be found without special efforts to collect it. The larger chunks of rock however, may be seen burning through the atmosphere and get picked up. Or chunks that fell years or thousands of years ago may be found. These are meteorites and by comparison to anything else in or on the Earth they are the rarest.

In all the hundreds of years that man has been picking up these space rocks he has managed to only collect a few hundred tons. They are very often worth many times their weight in gold and compared to diamonds it is the meteorites that are rare.

Meteorites are samples of the distant bodies in our solar system that we have never visited, as well as the few places we have landed on. They are the oldest material in the solar system going all the way back in time. Some are metal and represent material from the center of large bodies that have been destroyed. Other is stone that has built up grain by grain into large bodies that have later been struck sending chunk our way. In between is ever variation of combination imaginable. Some are half metal and half crystals of olivine. Others are half metal and half silicate rock. Some have almost no metal at all. But, each no matter its composition has a story to tell. They record the pounding and melting form striking others. They show the mixing that happened during those same impacts. A few are nearly pristine having avoided by luck any major damage since they were formed.

It is this wide range of different types that we have learned about what is out in space. Through each tiny glimpse the individual meteorites give the vast panorama of information has unfolded. What one did not tell us of a certain thing another has revealed.

Meteorites fall every day but only large ones can reach the ground. And with each discovery of a fallen space rock new knowledge is acquired by scientists. Any diamond is much like another. It is just another crystal of carbon found in a range of colors. However, every meteorite is unique shaped by passage through the atmosphere, no more of any fall of stones will ever exist then what lands in that one event. Be it a thousand small stones or only one. More diamonds, more gold, more of all Earth’s resources can be dug out. But, never more meteorites than what fall each time we catch a wanderer in space.

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