As early as the 18th century, people did not believe in the existence of meteorites. English and French scientists did not do it either .
For them, meteorites were as exotic hypotheses as alien abductions are today. But on September 13, 1768, this idea began to change in the face of clear evidence.
The French meteorite
Many people witnessed, on the date mentioned, the fall of a large meteorite of three and a half kilograms mass in Lucé, Pays de la Loire, France.
Also three members of the Royal Academy of Sciences, including the young French chemist, biologist and economist Antoine Lavoisier , were sent to investigate the event.
Scientists were so closed to the idea that extraterrestrial material could come from the sky that they theorized that what happened there had been a lightning strike that had detached a piece of sandstone on the ground .
On June 16, 1794, another large meteorite exploded over Siena. Many English nobles and academics witnessed the event. And, in fact, this was the first meteorite fall to be accepted, in a sense, as genuine, as David Wooton explains in the book The Invention of Science :
It helped that there were many witnesses, and that they were cultured and wealthy. It helped that the testimonials were published. But it also helped that hours before the meteorite fell, Vesuvius, located 320 kilometers away, had erupted; From a mood that it was possible to imagine that the rocks had shot out of Vesuvius, although they fell from the northern sky, not the southern one. This was clearly preferable to imagining that they had fallen from outer space.
Today we already know that meteorites are real . What’s more, the Earth receives around 100 tons of extraterrestrial matter in the form of grains of dust a day. 99% of these grains have an approximate size of between 0.05 and 0.5 millimeters.