Summary: Any solid objects moving in interplanetary space that are smaller than a planet or asteroid but larger than a molecule. Meteorites are any meteoroid that has fallen to a planetary surface. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed)

Top Publications

  1. Abramov O, Mojzsis S. Microbial habitability of the Hadean Earth during the late heavy bombardment. Nature. 2009;459:419-22 pubmed publisher
  2. Tarcea N, Harz M, Rosch P, Frosch T, Schmitt M, Thiele H, et al. UV Raman spectroscopy--a technique for biological and mineralogical in situ planetary studies. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2007;68:1029-35 pubmed
    ..Making use of the resonance effects, spectra of microorganisms were recorded with a high S/N ratio, allowing afterwards a very precise identification and classification (to the strain level) of the measured samples. ..
  3. Kleinhans F. Show me the dog. Science. 2006;312:1600 pubmed
  4. Levasseur Regourd A. Cometary dust unveiled. Science. 2004;304:1762-3 pubmed
  5. Thiemens M. Mass-independent isotope effects in planetary atmospheres and the early solar system. Science. 1999;283:341-5 pubmed
    ..Observed mass-independent meteoritic oxygen and sulfur isotopic compositions may derive from chemical processes in the presolar nebula, and their distributions could provide insight into early solar system evolution. ..
  6. Meech K, Yang B, Kleyna J, Hainaut O, Berdyugina S, Keane J, et al. Inner solar system material discovered in the Oort cloud. Sci Adv. 2016;2:e1600038 pubmed publisher
    ..We may be looking at fresh inner solar system Earth-forming material that was ejected from the inner solar system and preserved for billions of years in the Oort cloud. ..
  7. Popova O, Jenniskens P, Emel yanenko V, Kartashova A, Biryukov E, Khaibrakhmanov S, et al. Chelyabinsk airburst, damage assessment, meteorite recovery, and characterization. Science. 2013;342:1069-73 pubmed publisher
    ..A good understanding of the Chelyabinsk incident provides an opportunity to calibrate the event, with implications for the study of near-Earth objects and developing hazard mitigation strategies for planetary protection. ..
  8. Wolfe A. Germs in space. Joshua Lederberg, exobiology, and the public imagination, 1958-1964. Isis. 2002;93:183-205 pubmed
  9. Sugiura N, Hoshino H. Hydrogen-isotopic compositions in Allan Hills 84001 and the evolution of the martian atmosphere. Meteorit Planet Sci. 2000;35:373-80 pubmed
    ..Because ALH 84001 is approximately 4 Ga old, the H-isotopic composition suggests that a large fraction of the initial martian atmosphere had already escaped by 4 Ga. ..

More Information


  1. Steele A, Goddard D, Beech I, Tapper R, Stapleton D, Smith J. Atomic force microscopy imaging of fragments from the Martian meteorite ALH84001. J Microsc. 1998;189:2-7 pubmed
    ..Science, 1996, pp. 924-930) of NASA who used SEM imaging of gold-coated meteorite samples. Careful imaging of the fragments revealed that the observed structures were not an artefact introduced by the coating procedure. ..
  2. Harris A. What Spaceguard did. Nature. 2008;453:1178-9 pubmed publisher
  3. Martinez Frias J, Huertas A. Megacryometeors: distribution on Earth and current research. Ambio. 2006;35:314-6 pubmed
  4. Voltaggio M. Radon progeny in hydrometeors at the earth's surface. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2012;150:334-41 pubmed publisher
  5. Shock E. Astrobiology: seeds of life?. Nature. 2002;416:380-1 pubmed
  6. Cravens T. X-ray emission from comets. Science. 2002;296:1042-5 pubmed
    ..X-ray observations of comets and other solar system objects may be used to determine the structure and dynamics of the solar wind. ..
  7. Claverie F, Malherbe J, Bier N, Molloy J, Long S. Standard addition method for laser ablation ICPMS using a spinning platform. Anal Chem. 2013;85:3584-91 pubmed publisher
    ..These results demonstrate the validity of the proposed method for the direct and fast analysis of solid samples of different matrixes by standard additions, using a single standard sample. ..
  8. Verstraeten W, Veroustraete F, Feyen J. Soil moisture retrieval from optical and thermal spaceborne remote sensing. Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2005;70:27-30 pubmed
  9. Kaspar C, Jaussaud P. [The mineralogical and petrographical work of the pharmacists in the Museum]. Rev Hist Pharm (Paris). 2005;53:403-12 pubmed
    ..The works of Vauquelin, Laugier and Lacroix contributed to advance those begun by some scientists of the Jardin du Roi, as Buffon or the Rouelle brothers before the French Revolution. ..
  10. Weaver H. Not a rubble pile?. Science. 2004;304:1760-2 pubmed
  11. Breslow R, Cheng Z. On the origin of terrestrial homochirality for nucleosides and amino acids. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106:9144-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Guanosine crystallizes as a conglomerate and does not amplify in this way. However, under prebiotic conditions it could have been formed from homochiral D ribose from the hydrolysis of amplified adenosine or cytidine. ..
  12. Keller L, Bajt S, Baratta G, Borg J, Bradley J, Brownlee D, et al. Infrared spectroscopy of comet 81P/Wild 2 samples returned by Stardust. Science. 2006;314:1728-31 pubmed
    ..The presence of crystalline silicates in Wild 2 is consistent with mixing of solar system and interstellar matter. No hydrous silicates or carbonate minerals were detected, which suggests a lack of aqueous processing of Wild 2 dust. ..
  13. Gritzner C, Dürfeld K, Kasper J, Fasoulas S. The asteroid and comet impact hazard: risk assessment and mitigation options. Naturwissenschaften. 2006;93:361-73 pubmed
    ..It further discusses the critical constraints for NEO deflection strategies and systems as well as mitigation and evacuation costs and benefits. Recommendations are given for future activities to solve the NEO impact hazard problem. ..
  14. van Hoesel A, Hoek W, Braadbaart F, van der Plicht J, Pennock G, Drury M. Nanodiamonds and wildfire evidence in the Usselo horizon postdate the Allerod-Younger Dryas boundary. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:7648-53 pubmed publisher
    ..Our analysis thus provides no support for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. ..
  15. Reimold W. Geosciences. Impact cratering comes of age. Science. 2003;300:1889-90 pubmed
  16. Cooper G, Rios A. Enantiomer excesses of rare and common sugar derivatives in carbonaceous meteorites. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113:E3322-31 pubmed publisher
  17. Cooper G, Kimmich N, Belisle W, Sarinana J, Brabham K, Garrel L. Carbonaceous meteorites as a source of sugar-related organic compounds for the early Earth. Nature. 2001;414:879-83 pubmed
    ..We conclude from this that polyols were present on the early Earth and therefore at least available for incorporation into the first forms of life. ..
  18. Horneck G, Facius R, Reitz G, Rettberg P, Baumstark Khan C, Gerzer R. Critical issues in connection with human missions to Mars: protection of and from the Martian environment. Adv Space Res. 2003;31:87-95 pubmed
    ..Records of human activities on the planet's surface should be maintained in sufficient detail that future scientific experimenters can determine whether environmental modifications have resulted from explorations. ..
  19. Kerr R. Planetary science. Mars Orbiter's swan song: the red planet is a-changin'. Science. 2006;314:1528-9 pubmed
  20. Thiemens M, Savarino J, Farquhar J, Bao H. Mass-independent isotopic compositions in terrestrial and extraterrestrial solids and their applications. Acc Chem Res. 2001;34:645-52 pubmed
  21. Sakamoto N, Seto Y, Itoh S, Kuramoto K, Fujino K, Nagashima K, et al. Remnants of the early solar system water enriched in heavy oxygen isotopes. Science. 2007;317:231-3 pubmed
  22. Saladino R, Crestini C, Cossetti C, Di Mauro E, Deamer D. Catalytic effects of Murchison material: prebiotic synthesis and degradation of RNA precursors. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2011;41:437-51 pubmed publisher
    ..These results suggest that if RNA was somehow incorporated into a primitive form of RNA-based thermophilic life, either it must be protected from random hydrolytic events, or the rate of synthesis must exceed the rate of hydrolysis. ..
  23. Yan L, Zhao J, Toellner T, Divan R, Xu S, Cai Z, et al. Exploration of synchrotron Mössbauer microscopy with micrometer resolution: forward and a new backscattering modality on natural samples. J Synchrotron Radiat. 2012;19:814-20 pubmed publisher
    ..Proof-of-principle experiments were performed on enriched (57)Fe phantoms, and on samples with natural isotopic abundance, such as meteorites. ..
  24. Becker L, Popp B, Rust T, Bada J. The origin of organic matter in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Earth Planet Sci Lett. 1999;167:71-9 pubmed
  25. Fox A. Chemical markers for bacteria in extraterrestrial samples. Anat Rec. 2002;268:180-5 pubmed
    ..Such analyses may also be important in studies designed to search for the presence of life on Mars. ..
  26. Münker C, Pfänder J, Weyer S, Büchl A, Kleine T, Mezger K. Evolution of planetary cores and the Earth-Moon system from Nb/Ta systematics. Science. 2003;301:84-7 pubmed
    ..The lunar Nb/Ta constrains the mass fraction of impactor material in the Moon to less than 65%. Moreover, the Moon-forming impact can be linked in time with the final core-mantle equilibration on Earth 4.533 billion years ago...
  27. Tielens A. Planetary science. Peering into stardust. Science. 2003;300:68-71 pubmed
  28. Bernstein M, Sandford S, Allamandola L, Gillette J, Clemett S, Zare R. UV irradiation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ices: production of alcohols, quinones, and ethers. Science. 1999;283:1135-8 pubmed
    ..This work has important implications for extraterrestrial organics in biogenesis. ..
  29. A Hearn M, Belton M, Delamere W, Kissel J, Klaasen K, McFadden L, et al. Deep Impact: excavating comet Tempel 1. Science. 2005;310:258-64 pubmed
    ..On approach, the spacecraft observed frequent natural outbursts, a mean radius of 3.0 +/- 0.1 kilometers, smooth and rough terrain, scarps, and impact craters. A thermal map indicates a surface in equilibrium with sunlight. ..
  30. Belbruno E, Moro Martín A, Malhotra R, Savransky D. Chaotic exchange of solid material between planetary systems: implications for lithopanspermia. Astrobiology. 2012;12:754-74 pubmed publisher
    We examined a low-energy mechanism for the transfer of meteoroids between two planetary systems embedded in a star cluster using quasi-parabolic orbits of minimal energy...
  31. Almár I, Race M. Discovery of extra-terrestrial life: assessment by scales of its importance and associated risks. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2011;369:679-92 pubmed publisher
  32. Bartley J, Pope M, Knoll A, Semikhatov M, Petrov PYu -. A Vendian-Cambrian boundary succession from the northwestern margin of the Siberian Platform: stratigraphy, palaeontology, chemostratigraphy and correlation. Geol Mag. 1998;135:473-94 pubmed
    ..The excursion coincides with the palaeontological breakpoint between Ediacaran- and Cambrian-style assemblages, suggesting a role for biogeochemical change in evolutionary events near the Proterozoic Cambrian boundary. ..
  33. Clark B, Baker A, Cheng A, Clemett S, McKay D, McSween H, et al. Survival of life on asteroids, comets and other small bodies. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1999;29:521-45 pubmed
    ..Sterility of surface materials to tens or hundreds of centimeters of depth appears inevitable, and to greater depths for bodies which have resided for long periods sunward of about 2 A.U. ..
  34. Gaudiuso R, Dell Aglio M, De Pascale O, Senesi G, De Giacomo A. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy for elemental analysis in environmental, cultural heritage and space applications: a review of methods and results. Sensors (Basel). 2010;10:7434-68 pubmed publisher
  35. Abbott S, Harrison T, Schmitt A, Mojzsis S. A search for thermal excursions from ancient extraterrestrial impacts using Hadean zircon Ti-U-Th-Pb depth profiles. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:13486-92 pubmed publisher
    ..Coupled age-temperature depth profiling shows promise in this role, and the preliminary data we report could represent the first terrestrial evidence for impact-related heating during the LHB. ..
  36. Steele A, McCubbin F, Fries M, Glamoclija M, Kater L, Nekvasil H. Graphite in an Apollo 17 impact melt breccia. Science. 2010;329:51 pubmed publisher
    ..This suggests that impact processes may be an additional formation mechanism for GWs in the solar system and indicates that the Moon contains a record of ancient carbonaceous material delivered at the time of the Late Heavy Bombardment. ..
  37. Showalter M. Detection of centimeter-sized meteoroid impact events in Saturn's F ring. Science. 1998;282:1099-102 pubmed
    ..These features arise from hypervelocity impacts by approximately 10-centimeter meteoroids into F ring bodies...
  38. Matthews C, Minard R. Hydrogen cyanide polymers, comets and the origin of life. Faraday Discuss. 2006;133:393-401; discussion 427-52 pubmed
    ..Following persistent bolide bombardment, primitive Earth may have been covered by water and carbonaceous compounds, particularly HCN polymers which would have supplied essential components for establishing protein/nucleic acid life...
  39. González Toril E, Martinez Frias J, Gómez Gómez J, Rull F, Amils R. Iron meteorites can support the growth of acidophilic chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms. Astrobiology. 2005;5:406-14 pubmed
  40. DiGregorio B. Doubts on dinosaurs. Sci Am. 2005;292:28-9 pubmed
  41. Kazmierczak J, Kempe S. Modern terrestrial analogues for the carbonate globules in Martian meteorite ALH84001. Naturwissenschaften. 2003;90:167-72 pubmed
    ..Although the exact mode of formation of Lake Van carbonates remains an enigma, their similarity to the Martian globules indicates that the ALH84001 carbonates may have formed in similar setting on ancient Mars. ..
  42. Thomas Keprta K, Clemett S, Bazylinski D, Kirschvink J, McKay D, Wentworth S, et al. Magnetofossils from ancient Mars: a robust biosignature in the martian meteorite ALH84001. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002;68:3663-72 pubmed
  43. Fries M, Steele A. Graphite whiskers in CV3 meteorites. Science. 2008;320:91-3 pubmed publisher
    ..Our observations, along with the further possibility that GWs could be manufactured during supernovae, suggest that GWs may have substantial effects in observational astronomy. ..
  44. Firestone R, West A, Kennett J, Becker L, Bunch T, Revay Z, et al. Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007;104:16016-21 pubmed
    ..g., extensive biomass burning and food limitations) contributed to end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions and adaptive shifts among PaleoAmericans in North America. ..
  45. Frosch T, Tarcea N, Schmitt M, Thiele H, Langenhorst F, Popp J. UV Raman imaging--a promising tool for astrobiology: comparative Raman studies with different excitation wavelengths on SNC Martian meteorites. Anal Chem. 2007;79:1101-8 pubmed
    ..Finally the application of this new technique for a UV Raman instrument for envisaged astrobiological focused space missions is suggested. ..
  46. Ostrooumov M, Hernández Bernal M. Mineralogical composition of the meteorite El Pozo (Mexico): a Raman, infrared and XRD study. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2011;83:437-43 pubmed publisher
    ..The mineral mapping by Raman spectroscopy has provided information for a certain spatial region on which a spatial distribution coexists of the three typical mineral assemblages: olivine; olivine+orthopyroxene; and orthopyroxene. ..
  47. Seitz R, Raymond J, Kissel J, Petaev M. Xenomict energy in cold solids in space. Naturwissenschaften. 2006;93:88-91 pubmed
    ..We speculate that this may account for some cometary outbursts and Deep Impact experiment results. Calorimetric experiments on appropriately irradiated natural and synthetic materials are needed to further quantify these mechanisms. ..
  48. Steele A, McCubbin F, Fries M, Kater L, Boctor N, Fogel M, et al. A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts. Science. 2012;337:212-5 pubmed publisher
    ..The ubiquitous distribution of abiotic organic carbon in martian igneous rocks is important for understanding the martian carbon cycle and has implications for future missions to detect possible past martian life. ..
  49. Sephton M. Organic compounds in carbonaceous meteorites. Nat Prod Rep. 2002;19:292-311 pubmed
    ..This review covers work published between 1950 and the present day and cites 193 references. ..
  50. Turtle E, Pierazzo E. Thickness of a Europan ice shell from impact crater simulations. Science. 2001;294:1326-8 pubmed
    ..Because impacts disrupt material well beyond the zone of partial melting, our simulations put a lower limit on ice thickness at the locations and times of impact. We conclude that the ice must be more than 3 to 4 kilometers thick. ..
  51. Rao M, Borg L, McKay D, Wentworth S. Martian soil component in impact glasses in a Martian meteorite. Geophys Res Lett. 1999;26:3265-8 pubmed
    ..1983) in Lith C. These mixing proportions can be used to constrain the elemental abundance of phosphorus in Martian soil. ..
  52. Fisler D, Cygan R. Cation diffusion in calcite: determining closure temperatures and the thermal history for the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite. Meteorit Planet Sci. 1998;33:785-9 pubmed
  53. Umeda Y, Fukunaga N, Sekine T, Furukawa Y, Kakegawa T, Kobayashi T, et al. Survivability and reactivity of glycine and alanine in early oceans: effects of meteorite impacts. J Biol Phys. 2016;42:177-98 pubmed publisher