How Do You Know Where Meteoroids Come From?
Recent studies show that most of the meteoroids found on Earth come from shattered asteroids. Some are even said to have come from the moon or Mars. Experts have stated that some of the smaller pieces of Venus or Mercury may have also reached Mother Earth. However, none have been identified. Scientists can often report where meteoroids have originated depending on various pieces of evidence. They are likely to use photographic observations of a meteorite falling for calculating orbits and projecting their paths back to the asteroid belt.
Scientists will also compare the compositional properties of these meteoroids to various asteroid classes. They even have the liberty to study how old these meteoroids are. Some of them are as old as 4.6 billion years! It’s hard to grasp just how old these materials are. Scientists have traced Martian rocks to Mars, also known as the Red Planet. These rocks have trapped gas pockets, which match the information that rovers and satellites have found on Mars. If the meteorite’s composition matches rocks that astronauts brought back from the moon during the Apollo mission, then those meteoroids can be considered lunar parts too. The study from NASA’s Dawn Mission already noted that a class of meteorites, namely HED or howardite-eucrite-diogenite, came from Vesta, which is a planet-like world in the asteroid belt.