Occasionally, when you’re looking into the nighttime skies you’re lucky to see what has come to be known as “shooting stars.” These streaks of light are caused by friction when a space rock, or meteoroid, enters the earth’s atmosphere. And when one of these chucks of primarily iron and nickel impacts the surface of our planet, they are called meteorites.
Meteorites of various sizes have been coming into contact with the surface of earth for millennia. In 1572, Spanish conquistadors encountered, in what is now known as Argentina, pieces of strange metallic rock scattered over a large area. Local legends told of rocks falling from the sky. In Spanish, this region became known as Campo del Cielo (Place of the Sky). Apparently, at some time in the distant past, a large meteoroid had exploded over the area, scattering fragments all over the Argentine wilderness. While this meteorite iron wasn’t the gold or silver that the Spanish treasured, nevertheless, it had been used in the manufacture of arrow head, spear points and knives by the Indians in the region for thousands of years.
Occasionally, when you’re looking into the nighttime skies you’re lucky to see what has…
by Massad Ayoob / Sep 1, 2007