Meteorites

Meteoroids vs. Asteroids

Meteoroids are actually small chunks that have broken off from comets, asteroids, or planetary bodies. If one hits Earth's atmosphere and doesn't vaporize completely before landing, then it's called a meteorite. If it does vaporize, then the light and trail it causes are called a meteor—otherwise known as a shooting star.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Meteoroids are much smaller than asteroids, which can stretch for 1,000 kilometers. 00:25

  2. Both meteoroids and asteroids are made primarily of rocks and ice, but they can carry rare materials as well. 01:32

  3. Meteoroids typically vaporize when they hit the atmosphere, whereas asteroids can cause large impacts. 02:40

Written By
Curiosity Staff
May 29, 2015