Earth and the Moon

Meteors and Meteorites

Are falling meteors and meteorites dangerous?

Typical meteors and meteorites pose no danger of any kind to people. Meteors burn up before they reach Earth, so they do not hit anything on the surface; meteorites are so rare that the chances of their hitting anything important are almost zero.

Still, occasional incidents are known to happen. A falling meteorite killed a dog in Egypt in 1911; another struck the arm of—and rudely awakened—a sleeping woman in Alabama in 1954; and in 1992 a meteorite put a hole through a Chevy Malibu automobile. Once in a very rare while—every 100,000 years or so—a meteor or meteorite about one hundred meters across will collide with Earth. Once in a very, very rare while—every one hundred million years or so—a meteorite one thousand ]76 meters across will do so, and that would indeed be dangerous.


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