Meteor? Meteorite? Meteoroid? Whats the difference?? I wondered so much that we did a homeschool study about meteors, and discovered all these interesting facts about them…
Little Known Fact About Meteors #1 ~
You can throw an Meteoroid off course (keeping it from hitting the Earth, for instance) by exploding a nuclear device near it. The radiation pulse from the explosion pushes the Meteoroid off course. The process is called an ‘x-ray slap’.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #2 ~
Meteoroids are moving fast! Some enter the Earth’s atmosphere at as much as 130,000 miles per hour.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #3 ~
Meteorites contain the oldest known rocks in our solar system. They also contain ‘pre-solar grains’, which are minerals that formed around other stars probably billions of years before our solar system was born.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #4 ~
A 1985 study conducted by the science journal ‘Nature’ calculated the rate of meteorites hitting humans as .0055 per year, or once time every 180 years. Those are worse odds than Lotto.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #5 ~
Up to 4 billion meteoroids fall to Earth every day. But most of them are too tiny to do any noticeable harm.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #6 ~
After it impacts the Earth, a meteoroid is suddenly referred to as a meteorite.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #7 ~
Radio signals bounce off the ionized trails left by meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere. The National Weather Service and NATO use the process to communicate over long distances.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #8 ~
In 2004, a 30-foot-wide meteoroid hit the atmosphere over Antarctica, leaving 2 million pounds of dust in its wake. That was enough to seed rain clouds and affect climate all the way on the other side of the planet.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #9 ~
More than 24,000 meteorites are known to have landed on Earth, but only 34 are believed to have originated on Mars. The Martian meteorites can sell for as much as $500 a gram. (Non-Martian ones are only worth about $2 a gram.)
Little Known Fact About Meteors #10 ~
A meteor (from the Greek word ‘meteoron’, which means ‘phenomenon in the sky’) is actually the streak of light we see trailing a meteoroid. A meteoroid is any interplanetary object bigger than a speck of dust and smaller than an asteroid.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #11 ~
The International Space Station is expected to be hit with an estimated 100,000 meteoroids during its expected 20-year life span. To protect it, International Space Station is covered with a foot-thick layer of Kevlar. Kevlar is the same material that’s used to make bulletproof vests.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #12 ~
If you happen to find a meteorite, the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society demands that you donate 20 percent of it (or 20 grams of it, whichever is less), to a laboratory for future research. The rest is yours to do with as you wish, UNLESS you found it in South Africa. There, all meteorites are protected under the National Heritage Law and you’d have to surrender it to nearest authority.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #13 ~
Meteorite landings have been blamed for hundreds of injuries throughout the years, but only one was actually verified by scientists. In 1954, a woman named Annie Hodges was struck by an eight-pound meteorite that crashed though her roof, bounced off a radio, and into her hip while she was napping in Sylacauga, Alabama.
Little Known Fact About Meteors #14 ~
You can buy meteorites on eBay.
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