Ever heard that the moon was made of cheese? That’s not quite true, but it does have holes and indentions like a brick of swiss! If you stare at the moon on a clear night, you may see these gray spots called impact craters. When rocks traveling through space collide with the moon, it may leave an impression behind!
Asteroids, comets and meteoroids are all huge rocks that float and travel around space. Asteroids are chunks of rock and metal, comets are made of ice and dust, and meteoroids are chunks broken off larger comets or asteroids! Meteorites vary from the size of pebbles to as large as the Hoba Meteorite, which weights 66 tons! This Iron meteorite is 9 feet long, 9 feet wide, and 3 feet thick! The Hoba meteorite is believed to have fallen to Earth’s surface 80,000 years ago and has lost significant mass due to iron oxidation.
Each type of rock can create impact craters, leaving an imprint on the planet or moon they strike. Even our planet has scares from space rocks. The Vredefort crater is the largest impact crater on Earth, located in South Africa, this crater is estimated to be more than 2 billion years old! The asteroid was 3-6 miles in diameter, leaving a crater 160-190 miles across! These asteroids strike extremely hard and kick up dirt and dust around them! It is believed that the Chicxulub impactor, an asteroid that stuck more than 65 million years ago on the Yucatan Peninsula, kicked up so much dust that it caused the dinosaurs to become extinct.
Test out the effect of asteroid impacts today! Explore along with us in our Crater Maker experiment!