Computer artwork of a meteor burning up in Earth

How many meteorites hit Earth every year?

Every year, millions of rocky shards from outer space burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, many briefly flaring and appearing in the sky as “shooting stars.” But how many survive their high-speed plunges to strike the ground?

Rocks from space that land on Earth are known as meteorites. Giant impactssuch as the one that likely ended the reign of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, caused by an asteroid or comet about 6 miles (10 kilometers) across, are extraordinarily rare. Instead, most rocks that fall to Earth are very small, and relatively few survive their fiery plummet through Earth’s atmosphere.

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