NASA and other enterprising space agencies exert a lot of effort boldly sending robots to explore the strange worlds in our solar system and seek out new data by analyzing their composition. In the case of the Moon, they spent a huge amount of money sending people there to fill bags with rocks and bring them back to Earth for study.
But every day of every year, priceless samples of asteroids, the Moon, and even Mars arrive on Earth naturally. After spending millions perhaps even billions of years in space orbiting the Sun, these meteoroids — chunks of rock or iron or even a mixture of the two, blasted off their parent bodies by violent collisions or impacts — cross Earth’s path purely by chance. After tearing through our atmosphere as shooting stars, or meteors, they land with a whumpfwaiting to be found. One probably landed somewhere as you were reading this sentence!
When they hit the ground, we call these interplanetary rocks meteorites, and they are not just highly prized by scientists but by collectors and amateur astronomers, too. Why? Well, let’s face it, as valuable as meteorites are scientifically, it’s just amazing and thrilling to be able to touch, hold, and perhaps even own a piece of something from “out there.” They’re like fossils. But cooler.
It’s easy to buy meteorites these days; there are lots of individuals and companies that sell them, as a quick Google search will confirm. But not all meteorites are created equal. Some are more prized by collectors than others because they are rare, particularly attractive to look at, or have a remarkable origin story.
Here are some of these celebrity meteorites.