“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” -Henry W. Longfellow
When you look at the meteors striking Earth today, as well as over the past 466 million years, you find something surprising: they don’t line up with the population of near-Earth asteroids we find in our Solar System today. In fact, more than 80% of the meteorites we find on Earth’s surface are entirely of the wrong class.
For a long time, this was a puzzle we had no idea how to solve, but a series of recent studies points to an unlikely culprit: a series of collisions between giant asteroids hundreds of millions of years ago. This Collisional Cascade Model theorizes that asteroid collisions fill the Solar System with fragmentary debris. By looking at older populations of meteorite fragments, we now have unprecedented evidence in support of this idea.