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It Came From Space

Scientists found a meteorite—a rock from space—in Antarctica.

Courtesy of Maria Valdes

Scientists found a rock from space in Antarctica! The rock, called a meteorite, is one of the largest ever found in that part of the world. 

Scientists found the meteorite during a trip to Antarctica in January 2023. The meteorite is about the size of a cantaloupe, which is a kind of melon. But since the meteorite is made up mostly of metal, it’s very heavy for its size. In fact, it weighs almost 17 pounds (8 kilograms)!

Meteorites are rocks that fall from space and land on Earth’s surface. Along with the planets, many other objects orbit the Sun. Some of them are pieces of rock. Sometimes a small rock gets close to Earth’s atmosphere and falls to Earth. That’s a meteorite. Scientists think the one they found fell to Earth tens of thousands of years ago.

Scientists often look for meteorites in Antarctica. That’s because Antarctica is a very dry place. In fact, it’s a desert! Most meteorites are found in deserts because there’s very little rain or snow to damage them. So they can sit in one spot and remain unchanged. Plus, Antarctica is frozen. Since meteorites are dark colored, they’re easy to spot on the white ice. So far, scientists have found about 45,000 meteorites in Antarctica. They think there might be 300,000 more!


Black History Month

A GIF that scrolls through the portraits of many well known and influential Black Americans

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-08978, LC-USW3-001546-D, LC-USZ62-127236, LC-USZ62-27663); Addison N. Scurlock—Michael Ochs Archives, Kean Collection—Archive Photos, © Michael Ochs Archives, Evan Agostini/Getty Images; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. (object no. 2009.50.2); PRNewsFoto/XM Satellite Radio/AP Images; AP Images;  NASA; National Archives, Washington, D.C. (2803441); Pete Souza—Official White House Photo; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

February is Black History Month in the United States. Want to read more? Check out the January 31 edition of In the News!

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Fun Fact

© Fabio Lamanna/

The largest meteorite ever found is called the Hoba meteorite. It was discovered in Namibia, a country in Africa. The Hoba meteorite weighs almost 60 tons!

What’s the Difference?

© Kerrick, ratpack223, GRECLAURENTIU, Trifonov_Evgeniy—iStock/Getty Images Plus, ©Mark Garlic—Science Photo Library/Getty Images; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

© Kerrick, ratpack223, GRECLAURENTIU, Trifonov_Evgeniy—iStock/Getty Images Plus, ©Mark Garlic—Science Photo Library/Getty Images; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

If you read today’s article, you know that a meteorite is a rock from space that has fallen to Earth’s surface. But do you know what a meteoroid is? How about an asteroid? Let’s check out what each of these objects is.

An asteroid is a rocky object that orbits the Sun but is smaller than a planet. Like Earth, asteroids are billions of years old. Scientists believe that a few large asteroids have hit Earth. They think that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs and many other living things when it hit our planet 66 million years ago. It left behind a giant crater (dent in the ground) in Mexico.

Comets also orbit the Sun. But unlike asteroids, which are made up of rock, comets are made up of ice and dust.

A meteoroid is a piece of an asteroid or a comet that has broken off. Meteoroids orbit the Sun. 

If a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, it vaporizes, or becomes a gas. Then it’s called a meteor. A meteor may be seen from Earth as a streak of light in the sky.

Sometimes meteoroids don’t vaporize completely, and they land on Earth’s surface as rocks called meteorites.

Space Rocks Rock!

© Allexxandar—Creatas Video+ /Getty Images Plus

The video shows a meteor shower. You can learn about meteor showers—and more—at Britannica School!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: of or relating to the universe or outer space

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How many space objects can you find?


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