Meteorites are those particles of our solar system that survive the impact when they enter earth's surface. They are natural objects of the outer space, which are quite alien to us. Thus, meteorites have a lot of myths or uncertain facts attached to them. While these myths are ruled out by scientific reasoning, they still continue to persist. This is mainly because of the transmission of mistaken information in movies and serials. The lack of access to scientific information, for public at large, only contributes to the generation of myths. Find out some popular myths about meteorite.
Myth - Meteorites can be highly radioactive.
Truth - Actually meteorites are no more likely to be radioactive than ordinary terrestrial rocks.
Myth - Meteorites contain rare elements and exotic materials, like Kryptonite.
Truth - Scientists report that till date, no meteorite has been found to contain any element that does not occur naturally on earth.
Myth - Meteorites are rare and account for a very small amount of material reaching the earth.
Truth - Earth accumulates approximately 100 tons of extraterrestrial material every year. The current rate of fall for meteorites, greater than 100g, is approximately 27 per year. Meteorites, as large as a basketball, strike earth approximately once a month, with nearly 75% of the impacts landing in water.
Myth - Meteorites are meaningless, except as threats to our existence.
Truth - Besides the known effect they have had on life and dinosaurs, meteorites have revealed or contributed a tremendous volume of natural resources to our planet, through impact.
Myth - Meteorites are believed to carry diseases from space, which can harm anyone who comes into contact with them.
Truth - Meteorites do not carry diseases from space. There has never been a sign of any living bacteria or virus associated with, or naturally occurring within, a meteorite. Such germs, as well as spores molds and fungus, may attach to a meteorite after it lands, but that is part of the terrestrialization process.
Myth - When they land on the Earth, meteorites always glow with heat from their passage through earth's atmosphere.
Truth - This is not true. Although there is some controversy as to whether or not some meteorites are warm to touch when they fall, most of them are cool when they land on the Earth's surface. They travel so fast through earth's atmosphere that the heat produced during entry is ablated away, much the same way that the tiles on the underside of the space shuttle (and heat shields on prior space capsules) protect the shuttle. In fact, the aerodynamic shape of oriented meteorites was the inspiration for the blunt heat shield design of the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo space capsules.