Meteorites are solid particles from space that survive the passage through Earth's atmosphere to fall to the ground. In addition to such specimens as moon rocks and a meteorite studded with tiny diamonds, the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites contains the Cape York Meteorite, the world's largest meteorite on display. This 4.5-billion-year-old specimen is so heavy (34 tons), that its supports go straight through the floor down to the bedrock beneath the building. The massive meteorite, which probably comes from the center of a small planetary body that was broken apart, is a type known as an iron meteorite; it is composed of metallic iron and nickel, similar to the metallic core at the center of Earth. When Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary (1856-1920) discovered the specimen in 1894, he learned that it had been used for centuries by the Inuits as a source of iron for knives and other weapons. When touching the meteorite, visitors are touching an object that is both part of human history and a relic of our solar system.
Added by Upcoming Robot on January 29, 2009