What is a meteorite?

  • Exhibition Text

    • In simplest terms, a meteorite is a rock that falls to Earth from space. Meteorites are rocks, but they are not like Earth rocks. Most are far older, and they provide some of the only samples we have of other worlds – other planets, asteroids and possibly comets – in our solar system. Some meteorites even contain tiny particles that formed around other stars that existed before our Sun.

      Because meteorites are ancient pieces of these celestial bodies, scientist rely on them for information about the history of our solar system. The study of meteorites has helped us understand the beginnings of our solar system, how planets and asteroids formed and how impacts of large meteorites have altered Earth’s history and life on our planet.

      Show more
  • For Educators

    • Topic: Astronomy

      Subtopic: Milky Way Galaxy

      Keywords: Meteorites, Astrophysics, Solar System--Origin, Astrogeology

      Audience: General

In This Section

What do meteorites tell us?

What do meteorites tell us?

The most interesting aspect of a meteorite might seem to be its dramatic fall to Earth, often in a blazing fireball.