Why can meteorites still burn without oxygen in space? What’s the principle?

The universe is vast, in addition to our well-known stars and planets, there are many mysterious and unknown objects, such as black holes, neutron stars, pulsars and so on. In addition to the above, there is also a common celestial body in space, that is, asteroids or smaller meteoroids.

There are eight planets in the solar system, which can run stably in their own orbits for billions of years. However, there are many asteroids or meteoroids, and their orbiters are very unstable. They often leave their own orbits and become wandering objects, and then impact other celestial bodies to produce craters. We can find countless craters on the moon by observing them, which are all of them Meteoroid impact.

We sometimes see meteors flash in the sky on the earth and at night, and even some larger meteorites hit the ground with burning flames, causing huge vibration. In our eyes, meteorites are always in a burning state when they appear, and some astronomy enthusiasts observe meteorites that have not yet entered the earth’s atmosphere through astronomical telescopes and find that they are also in a burning state in space. What’s the matter?


There is no oxygen in space. Why can meteorites still burn? What’s the principle? Let’s make some explanations. First of all, we need to popularize a common sense, that is, the combustion of materials needs to meet two conditions, one is to have combustible materials, the other is to have combustion supporting materials. Space is a vacuum state, there is no oxygen and other combustion supporting gas, so meteoroids, the predecessor of meteorites, cannot be burned in space.

So why do meteoroids look like a burning state in space? In fact, this is a misunderstanding. Let’s first popularize the knowledge about meteorites. Before a meteorite enters the atmosphere, when it is still in space, it can only be called a meteorite or a parent meteorite. Only when it hits the ground can it be recognized as a meteorite.

The reason why we can observe and find that the meteoroid is in a burning state in space is that it is only ice crystals attached to the surface of the meteoroid. Many asteroids or meteoroids come from places far away from the sun, such as the edge of the solar system. The celestial bodies here carry a lot of ice crystals. When they leave the orbit and move towards the inner Galaxy quickly, the ice crystals they carry will evaporate or break away. The closer they are to the sun, the more obvious the evaporation is, and the more obvious the tail gas similar to burning is.


Therefore, meteoroids in space, we will find that they often have a long tail, especially comets, which is more obvious. The reason is that the ice crystals they carry evaporate or break away, which is not really burning. When meteoroids enter the earth’s atmosphere, they have a huge friction with the atmosphere, generating enough heat to form a fire source. With the help of oxygen, they can really fuel.

Therefore, the combustion of meteoroids entering the atmosphere is the real combustion, and this kind of combustion will consume the mass of meteoroids, so that they will disappear or lose most of their mass before hitting the ground, so that they will not have greater destructive force on the earth. Therefore, it can be seen how important a thick atmosphere is. Without the protection of the atmosphere, it is very difficult for meteoroids to produce huge combustion after entering the earth, and they will not lose much mass, and then directly impact the earth, which will bring terrible destructive power.

The main reason why there are so many craters on the surface of the moon is that the moon has no atmosphere, so it can’t burn and block the invading meteoroids. Finally, they all hit the surface of the moon, leaving craters. The earth is right next to the moon. In 4.6 billion years, the meteorite invasion may be more than twice that of the moon. It is because of the protection of the earth’s thick atmosphere, which can effectively burn the invading meteorite, so that it can not produce greater destructive force on the ground, that the earth can become a living planet, and finally the birth of human beings.


Although the earth has a thick atmosphere protection, ordinary meteoroids can not cause damage to the earth, but the risk of asteroid impact is still the biggest space threat to the earth. The earth encountered an asteroid impact 65 million years ago, which resulted in the extinction of 80% of the earth’s organisms, including dinosaurs. This huge crater, after tens of millions of years, still exists on the earth.

Ordinary meteoroids can’t pose a threat to the earth, but some asteroids with larger mass ratio are different. Although they can burn quickly after entering the atmosphere, they can’t burn up before hitting the earth, thus bringing huge impact waves. This impact force can reach the interior of the earth and cause geological destruction such as volcanoes.

If the mass of the asteroid is larger, it may directly destroy the internal operation of the earth, resulting in the disappearance of the earth’s magnetic field. Scientists speculate that Mars was a beautiful planet with a magnetic field, a thick atmosphere and a large amount of liquid water long ago. Later, it may have been hit by a huge asteroid, which directly destroyed the operation of the earth’s core, so that the magnetic field disappeared and eventually became a barren planet.


Therefore, scientists have been studying the technology of intercepting asteroids. Only when human beings can effectively intercept the asteroids that hit the earth in space, can the earth and human beings be truly safe. The solar system is a galaxy with many asteroids. In addition to the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, there is a Kuiper belt on the edge of the solar system, and there are countless asteroids.

In the interstellar space outside the Kuiper belt, there is another Oort nebula, which is even more mysterious. The thickness of the entire Oort Nebula may reach one light year. We have no idea how many kinds of celestial bodies there are. It can be seen that the solar system in which the earth lives is not a simple galaxy. There are so many asteroids that can threaten the safety of the earth. Therefore, only by developing mature asteroid interception technology can we be truly safe.

Guys, what do you think of this? Welcome to leave a message below to discuss and express your opinions.


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