Throughout the history of the Solar System it has been a violent journey getting from the formation of the Solar System to where we are now. When you look up at the stars it may seem serene and peaceful, but in reality, it is like a war zone out there! Our own planet has come under attack from the skies many times in its history, and more recently than many people would think!
Every day, Earth is hit by millions of pieces of debris that is travelling through space. Earth has its own defence system for these, as they mostly burn up when they hit our atmosphere and never make it anywhere near us. We carry on with our lives, none the wiser. Occasionally however, something larger will get through, which, depending on the size can cause us a lot more trouble!
The most famous meteorite that has hit our planet is the one that ended the reign of the dinosaurs. The crater, off the coast of Mexico is a site of scientific interest, with thousands flocking to study the crater, allowing us to learn more about our planets history and the events that caused the extinction of most of life on Earth. Although it was bad news for the dinosaurs, for us it worked in our favour. When the dinosaurs no longer inhabited the earth, it allowed mammals to evolve and eventually rule the land that the dinosaurs once ruled – and eventually led to human beings evolving. So, if it weren’t for that meteorite, we wouldn’t be here!
The other thing that we have to thank meteorites for is a girl’s best friend – diamonds! These precious and ancient gems (formed between 1 and 3 billion years ago) need intense heat and pressure to form – this sort of enormous energy can be found in volcanoes – and in meteorites. The dust clouds that can be created from the impact of a meteorite hitting the earth is incredible and you can be sure that a Dust Monitor will have its work cut out registering these levels. A Dust Monitor from mattsmonitors can be used to measure the levels of dust particles in buildings or on construction sites. You can be sure that the readings would have been off the chart when the meteorite took out the dinosaurs!
More recently, everyone was taken by surprise, when in 2013 lights were seen in the sky above Chelyabinsk in Russia. A meteorite had evaded the attention of astronomers (who, as strange coincidence would have it, had been looking out for another asteroid that had been near Earth sixteen hours previously) and fell to Earth with a bang. Miraculously, nobody was killed, but thousands of people were injured by broken glass which had been blown out by the enormous shockwave.