Weather in Space

Meteors, Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets

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 300 feet (100 meters) across will collide with Earth. Once in a very, very rare while—every 100 million years or so—a meteorite 3,000 feet (1,000) meters across will do so, and that is a cataclysmic event.


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