The Planet Quiz Show  


Answer:  Meteorites

Long Answer:

A meteor is the flash of light made by a small piece of space dust entering the Earthís atmosphere at high velocities. If the solid body reaches the ground, it is called a meteorite. Meteoroids are the same objects that are found in space prior to entering a planetís atmosphere and striking its surface or vaporizing due to friction in the planetís atmosphere. These words are generally confused, even when used by professional astronomers. It is thought that the origin of meteors comes from the dust that is released by comets revolving around the sun. Meteorites seem to originate from the asteroid belt found mainly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.


[Meteor Crater Pit]
Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona is 4,100 feet in diameter and 550 feet deep. Its crater walls rise as high as 200 feet above the surrounding landscape. Its true name should be Meteorite Crater, since it was created by a rock that fell to the Earth from space. This composite image was created by stitching together three separate photos. Images by Gary A. Becker...

[Meteor Crater Wall]
Meteor Crater's walls are higher than the surrounding terrain, and its crater floor is lower than the surrounding landscape. These are two very important characteristics of impact (meteorite) craters. Image by Gary A. Becker...

[Looking into Meteor Crater]
Brandon Velivis of Albuquerque, NM stands above one of the bore holes drilled into the side of the crater in search of the parent meteorite. The original drilling area is visible as a white spot in the center of the crater. The visitor center can be seen as the dark silhouette along the craterís rim, just to the right of center. No large meteorite was ever found in Meteor Crater. Today it is known that large meteorites almost completely vaporize by the heat which is created when they strike the Earth. Image by Gary A. Becker...

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