Messages in a meteorites bring news from outer space (Thinkstock)
Messages in a meteorites bring news from outer space
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Meteorites may make us think of images of giant rocks smashing into towns. In fact, meteorites rarely hit people. They regularly bring valuable materials to Earth from outer space.

All of the iron we use on Earth today was brought from meteorites. Gold and platinum even have meteorite origins.

Meteorites have been hurtling to Earth since its formation. That was nearly 4.6 billion years ago. This was way before humans evolved. Without meteorites, our planet would be a very different place in terms of minerals available for our use.

Meteorites are valuable not only as sources of minerals. They also contain information. A meteorite is a space-time messenger from our solar system. It was chipped off an asteroid or other orbiting body. It may hang around in orbit for thousands or millions of years. That's before it gets thrown to Earth. It carries a story of events and conditions in space. They are otherwise difficult to study.

Using sophisticated technology to analyze the chemistry of meteorites, scientists find materials pointing back as far as the formation of our universe. These discoveries set the stage for planning spacecraft missions. Meteorites from Mars inspired a series of missions to explore the possibility of life on the red planet.

Find out more about meteorites and the solar system. Join us on Thursday, June 25, 2015, for a Smithsonian Science How live webcast. It's titled Astrogeology: Meteorites and Spacecraft Missions. It airs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT on the Q?rius website.

Meteoriticist Dr. Tim McCoy from the National Museum of Natural History will appear live. He will discuss and answer questions. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience.

Critical thinking challenge: How is a meteorite a space-time messenger?

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COMMENTS (8)
  • pedrovildosola
    6/12/2015 - 01:11 p.m.

    Because a meteorite can be stay in orbit a million of years, so, they have a lot of information about our universe that we don't know. So we can study this objects and discover things that we don't know. It's for this reason that the meteorites are "space-time messengers". For the moment we know that these meteorites have minerals.

    Thinking about that, I am impressed, because, lately the science can discover anything, 'cause now, in this century we have the tecnology that allows us see if a lot of theories are truth or not. We must not forget that the humans know a lot of things about the universe since inmemorial times, but we could never prove it, but now we have the tecnology,

    As data annex, the other day I readed an article about a group of scientist discovered the THC's existance in a meteorite. That it's amazing! (THC is the active cannabis' component). Some years ago, other group of scientists discovered the same thing, but, the science community didn't approve this investigation because they said that, probably, the scientists had contaminated the sample with THC. But now, it's truth, and the scientist comunity are very impressed about that.

  • John0724-YYCA
    6/15/2015 - 07:14 p.m.

    I never knew that meteorites are that useful because when they crash they bring valuable minerals such as Iron, Gold, and Platinum when I just thought that meteorites are just rocks from space that cause a lot of damage on Earth and are completely dangerous but Meteorites are very useful things because without it the world would have been completely different without it. I want to learn more about meteorites and how more useful they can be.

  • Milo-Par
    6/17/2015 - 11:54 a.m.

    Don't meteorites burn up in the atmosphere? If they don't they would be really small so how do they make such big craters if they're so small?

  • peytoni-Hyl
    6/19/2015 - 12:01 p.m.

    The article "Messages in a meteorites bring news from outer space" was a really great way to learn about meteorites was very interesting. I really like when Devin Reese put in this detail in the article "Meteoriticist Dr. Tim McCoy from the National Museum of Natural History will appear live. He will discuss and answer questions. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience."

  • constanzaaraya
    7/06/2015 - 05:17 p.m.

    Resume:

    This paragraph talks about the importance of meteorites in the formation of the Earth and how they helped in the formation and origin of various existing technologies today, besides the possibility of life on Mars. Meteorites are also regarded as "space-time messengers" due to the discoveries of outer space through these, discoveries that are still valid today.

    Personal Opinion:

    I agree with this paragraph, because if we know several things about the origin of the universe, we have not been able to verify the posibildad of life on other planet, and meteorites help in research on this topic is actually quite interesting and mysterious.

    Answer (Critical thinking challenge):

    A meteorite is a "messenger of space-time", because they give us information on the origin of the universe and the planets, even when they have spent millions of years.

  • FranciscaSanhueza
    7/08/2015 - 05:00 p.m.

    A meteorite is a "space-time messenger" because this space material hang around in orbit for thousand or million of years. The meteorites studies are more interesting that we can imagine, because in there are a lot of information about the elements or things that are out space, giving us knowledge that Earth is just a little part of the whole galaxy and maybe not the only place with life.

  • Alvarol97
    7/10/2015 - 03:16 p.m.

    summary : this topic is about meteorites and tell about that it has brought to the earth valuable materials from outer space and also contain information from our solar system.
    Personal thinking: I think meteorites are always a warning because in anytime they could came from the space but as the information says, they never has hit people , but we have to be alertness when they are close to the earth.
    Critical thinking challenge: Because meteorites carries a story of events and conditions in space.

  • GabrielaChavezD
    7/10/2015 - 03:50 p.m.

    Critical thinking challenge (answer): A meteorite is a space-time messenger because inside its composition brings outer space and information delivery so important registries for scientists who study them. In addition many of the materials used today on our planet have been brought for them.

    Opinion: I think this text is very interesting because it provides information that many people are unaware about meteorites and is important to have knowledge on this issue.
    It is also important to know that the odds that a meteorite impact a person are very low because scientists are watching them daily.

    Summary: This text speaks of how meteorites have a very important role in science today and as help the search for life on other planets.
    Also he speaks of the materials found in them and our planet are increasingly being occupied. Also it shows the beginnings of meteorites and contact with our planet.

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