Part of Hall of Meteorites.
Meteorites—and the dramatic fireballs that announce their arrival—have long instilled both fear and wonder in the human imagination. Yet scientists did not begin to understand meteorites until fairly recently. It wasn't until the early 1800s, after researchers investigated a series of dramatic meteorite falls in both Europe and the United States, that most scientists accepted that rocks actually fall to Earth from space. Today, better technology allows researchers to study meteorites in new ways and unlock their many secrets.