The meteorite collection at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences consists of a diverse array of extraterrestrial material, providing a comprehensive view of the early solar system and planet formation. Much of the collection is currently on display outside the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab. Visitors exploring the meteorite exhibit can see examples of stone and iron meteorites that originated from solar system asteroids and Mars. Our most recent acquisition, currently on loan from the Cline Collection, is a meteorite from the Chelyabinsk meteor that was witnessed falling over Russia on February 15, 2013 – the only documented meteor over Earth that resulted in human injuries.
Meteorites are the relics from our solar system’s evolution, and provide important clues as to how the planets came together from dust and gas roughly 4 ½ billion years ago. Each type of meteorite represents a particular part of an asteroid or early planetary body, and can help planetary scientists learn about how the planets formed and evolved over time.