Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A meteorite makes quite an impact

A meteorite reached Earth in southern Peru and left a crater 66 feet wide and 16 feet deep. No one was killed but hundred of locals are now reporting to be sick, presumably from the dust kicked up by the impact.

Meteorites can be really old. In 2003, a rock from the asteroid belt slammed into a home in a Chicago suburb. It was formed 4.5 billion years ago, even before Daley was mayor.

If it weren’t for meteorites, humans and maybe even dinosaurs may never have existed. Many scientists believe that meteorites wiped out 90% of life 251 million years ago, well before the dinosaurs, who are also thought to have become extinct after a major meteorite impact 65 million years ago.

At least 30,000 meteorites have been found on Earth. A meteorite has a burnt and crusty surface, from the heat of friction with the atmosphere upon entry, and attracts magnets if it has any iron.

That’s just what many of us hope for when we get old: sunburnt, a little crusty in an endearing way, and of course attractive.

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