Did You Know?

Over 500 meteorites hit the Earth each year.

Over 500 meteorites hit the Earth each year.

To date, there have been nearly 1,100 recovered falls (meteorites seen to fall) and nearly 40,000 finds (found, but not seen to fall). It is estimated that probably 500 meteorites reach the surface of the Earth each year, but less than 10 are recovered. This is because most fall into the ocean, land in remote areas of the Earth, land in places that are not easily accessible, or are just not seen to fall (fall during the day). From a model animation, it appears that lots of small asteroids/large meteoroids pass close to the Earth each day. Most of these are not detected, but recently, three 5–10 meter “asteroids” have been discovered and have passed well within the orbit of the Moon. Also recently, an asteroid about 500 meters in diameter passed about 2 million km from the Earth (five times the distance to the Moon). It is estimated that each day one or two 5–10 meter objects pass within the Moon’s orbit and that there are probably 30 million near-Earth objects! Most of these are too small to ever cause any damage. Five to ten meters is probably the smallest object that would likely survive passage through the Earth’s atmosphere.


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