Meteorites are not the same as meteors, but meteors can become meteorites.
Not all Meteors are Meteorites, as some Meteors will burn up in the atmosphere.
Meteorites are generally small chunks of rock, stone or metal matter, many from asteroids, that enter Earth’s atmosphere and hit the planet’s surface.
In September 1969, a meteorite fell to the Earth near Murchison, Australia, north of Melbourne.
It was rapidly taken to a laboratory, which prevented it from being contaminated by terrestrial matter. This meant that scientists could claim that what they discovered on it came from outer space, not Earth.
They found sixteen different amino acids, which form protein; various nucleic acids, which carry genetic information; and chemicals similar to the structural elements of living cells.
In other words, scientists discovered evidence of the building blocks of life that didn’t originate on Earth.
The meteorite was dated back 4.5 billion years, right around the time of Earth’s formation.
The word meteor comes from the Greek word “metéōron”, which means “a thing in the air”.