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Thought Questions

AstronomyThought Questions

Thought Questions


What methods do scientists use to distinguish a meteorite from terrestrial material?


Why do iron meteorites represent a much higher percentage of finds than of falls?


Why is it more useful to classify meteorites according to whether they are primitive or differentiated rather than whether they are stones, irons, or stony-irons?


Which meteorites are the most useful for defining the age of the solar system? Why?


Suppose a new primitive meteorite is discovered (sometime after it falls in a field of soybeans) and analysis reveals that it contains a trace of amino acids, all of which show the same rotational symmetry (unlike the Murchison meteorite). What might you conclude from this finding?


How do we know when the solar system formed? Usually we say that the solar system is 4.5 billion years old. To what does this age correspond?


We have seen how Mars can support greater elevation differences than Earth or Venus. According to the same arguments, the Moon should have higher mountains than any of the other terrestrial planets, yet we know it does not. What is wrong with applying the same line of reasoning to the mountains on the Moon?


Present theory suggests that giant planets cannot form without condensation of water ice, which becomes vapor at the high temperatures close to a star. So how can we explain the presence of jovian-sized exoplanets closer to their star than Mercury is to our Sun?


Why are meteorites of primitive material considered more important than other meteorites? Why have most of them been found in Antarctica?

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