Tuesday 28 July 2020

Scientists still baffled: why do meteorites always hit craters?

Washington, D.C. (dpo) - Each year, thousands of meteorites fall to earth. Yet, even after decades of intense investigation, the biggest meteorite mystery of all is yet to be solved: why do these space rocks always seem to land in craters? This question remains one of the last great enigmas of science.

“It’s like witchcraft!” NASA scientist Michael Fidget begins. “No matter where on earth you look, meteorites are always found in craters. They seem to be almost magically attracted to round recesses.”
But what is behind this? Magnetic forces? A cleverly constructed alien guidance system? Mere chance? What we do know is this: the size of the crater seems to correlate with the size of the meteorite drawn to it – in most cases, large meteorites are found in large craters, and small ones in small craters.
Are meteorites guided by an unknown force?
Historically, several tests have been carried out in an attempt to solve the riddle, but none has provided a major breakthrough. Most recently in 2011, a group of international experts dug an artificial crater with a diameter of 10 km (6.21 miles). They then watched the night sky, waiting for a meteorite to be drawn to the crater. And indeed, there was an impact, but the rock missed the site and hit a completely different and previously undiscovered crater about 270 km (177 miles) away. The puzzle therefore remains unsolved.
The experiment simply proved that meteorites seem to be able to distinguish between natural and man-made craters – to date, not a single asteroid has ever hit the artificial crater.
up, ssi, dan; first published 2018-07-02
Read the German version HERE.
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