The Chelyabinsk meteorite captured the world’s attention when it exploded in Russia in 2013. Scientists study fragments like this one to understand their cosmic origins.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite hurtled through our atmosphere at about 42,500 mph. Meteorites move so fast that the air they meet can’t be pushed aside, so instead, it compresses. That creates intense heat that melts the surface of the rock. Here you can see how an indentation on the meteorite’s surface has been melted away.