That’s about how much space stuff falls on the planet. I think that is an incredible amount, don’t you?
Most of this comes in the form of dust the size of grains of sand.
That is like a Blue Whale (the largest animal ever found on the Earth) a day falling from the sky.
So why does all this stuff hit the Earth daily? The term is accretion.
The theory is that all planets grow from the impact of smaller bodies running into each other, forming larger bodies until you get a planet. Luckily for us, accretion continues at a very slow rate compared to when the Solar system was forming.
About once a day, a basketball-sized object strikes Earth’s atmosphere and burns up. A few times each year, a fragment the size of a small car hits Earth’s atmosphere. These larger fragments cause impressive fireballs as they burn through the atmosphere (like the one over Siberia a few weeks ago).
When there is something left, that didn’t burn up in the atmosphere (yeah protective barrier) and hit the surface, they officially become meteorites.
Of course this image should give us a little pause. The iron meteor that caused the famous Meteor Crater in Arizona was about 80 ft in diameter and cause an almost 3/4 mile (1.186 kilometers) hole to be formed very quickly.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +