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Meteors should not be confused with meteorites. Meteors are items burning up in the atmosphere, meteorites are those objects that manage to hit the ground.

Debris that is too small or too light to survive friction with surrounding atmosphere will burn up very quickly, not reaching the planetary surface. Known as meteors, they are short-lived and will emit a flash of light as they burn. Terrestrial meteors are also known as shooting stars. Orbital debris will often suffer this demise.

Danger of Meteor Impacts

The Martian atmosphere is sufficient to protect an eventual settlement from small meteorites. Larger objects can make it through the atmosphere and there will need to be maintenance systems to account for meteorite impact in a surface settlement. Underground settlements would be protected from most likely impacts (and more importantly secondary debris).

The danger of meteors is very low, but non-zero. See the page for meteorites to find the probabilities of impact for different sizes.

See also