Science Questions

Mereorite and Asteroid Questions

Sun, 1st Jun 2008

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Question

Alan asked:

When does a meteor or meteorite grow in size to become an asteroid?

Answer

This is a semantics issue.  A meteor is a lump of rock on collision course with something - they’re whizzing towards them.  When they hit the ground they become a meteorite - a congealed lump of rock which has melted on the way through and landed on the ground. So a meteorite is something which has made it to a planet’s surface.  An asteroid is a huge chunk of debris left in space which is effectively a failed planet that never managed to form.

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