Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

Why is it important to study meteorites?

Why are meteorites so important to the study of the earth? I mean what do they tell us about the earth?

Meteorites are left-overs from the formation of the solar system. While Earth rock has been reprocessed by geological forces over many eons, most meteorites have never experienced any reprocessing and are just as they were when the solar system was formed. By examining a metorite, we are looking at the chemical composition of the solar system as it was being born.

A few meteorites come to us from the Moon or other planets, such as Mars. When you are holding a piece of martian meteorite in your hand, you are holding an actual real piece of the red planet. By studying these kinds of meteorites, we learn about the geology and atmospheres of other planets at long ago times, when the meteorite was chipped off the planet.

March 1999, Dave Kornreich (more by Dave Kornreich) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about Comets, Meteors and Asteroids: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

URL: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=223%26q=why+are+meteorites+important+to+study%26ei=Fk__UfysGYnVkgXt24HoCg%26usg=AFQjCNF1LWOBP35oYzhRDMnLEJOl3uR2zg%3Cbr%3E%3C/a%3E%3C/span%3E
This page has been accessed 23401 times since September 18, 2002.
Last modified: June 4, 2003 9:46:09 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)