So why are meteorites important?

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Collecting meteorites in Antarctica with the 2013 NASA ANSMET expedition. Image: Katie Joy

We currently have over 50,000 officially named meteorites in our worldwide collections. And yet despite these numbers, active scientific collection of these samples is, if anything, becoming increasingly important. Why? Well meteorites provide us with vital information about processes that took place early in solar system history. Unlike Earth, some meteorites retain a primitive composition and are our best means of assessing the bulk composition of the solar system. The age of the solar system is based on measurements made on meteorites. And finally, some meteorites contain organic matter that may have been the building blocks for life.