Ancient rocks from outer space

Aerial view of Wolfe Creek meteorite impact crater
Image: Bill Birch
Source: Museum Victoria

Meteorites are rocks from space that strike the Earth’s surface. Giant meteorites can have catastrophic effects: huge craters, bomb-like destruction and mass extinctions of species. Such massive impacts occur on average once every 100 million years, but smaller ones much more frequently.

Most meteorites come from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Some very rare meteorites are fragments of the Moon, Mars or comets.

Studying meteorites is an easy way of doing space research, because they come to us! Meteorites can help us understand how the solar system formed and may even give clues to the origins of life.