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Synopsis: Meteorites are by definition extraterrestrial objects that landed on Earth. About 100,000 tons of those objects fall to Earth every year, but 90% of them weigh less than one gram. In fact, although they have been preserved in mineral collections since the beginning of the nineteenth century, they were considered as just rocks until 1980. It was only then that scientists grasped the importance of those extraterrestrial rocks. Formed some 4.57 billion years ago, meteorites are the memory of the Solar System. Impacts are the most important geologic phenomenon in the Solar System. On the Earth, 95% of the species that have existed are now gone and five of the extinction periods are now connected with known major impacts. The dinosaurs are not the only ones to have disappeared after the fall of an enormous meteorite.

Water on Earth was brought here by meteorites. Life on Earth was most likely brought here by carbonaceous meteorites. In the book, you will learn to recognize meteorites and to tell them apart from Earth rocks. You will learn where they come from, how old they are, and where to go hunt for them. Finally, we will introduce you to some of the most famous meteorites. Only twenty years ago, few people thought it was possible to own a piece of space, and even fewer believed that someday you would be able to touch, or even own, a piece of the Moon or Mars, but we do know now that about 50 meteorites from the Moon, and about the same number of meteorites from Mars, have been found right here on our planet.

About the Author: Passionate about rocks from the age of five, Alain Carion opened his first shop in the Biron Flea Market, at Saint-Ouen near Paris at the age of 18, while continuing his studies. He presented his thesis to the University of Paris in 1970, and was granted a Doctorate in Physical Sciences.

In 1972, he opened his gallery in the Ille Saint Louis, at the very center of Paris, and it is still open today.

About 27 years ago he acquired his first meteorite, and the passion for extraterrestrials objects was created then. He now owns the largest private collection of meteorites in France, a collection that has been presented to the public many times in prestigious settings: University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris in 1994, 2004 and 2009, the Museum of Natural History of Neufchatel, Switzerland, for the Fallen from the Sky Exposition, at the School of Mines in Paris in 1998, and Vulcania in 2003. He is a member of the Meteoritical Society and has written several books about meteorites. In June 2000, he was received in the the Confrerie de Saint Georges des Gardiens de la Meteorite de Ensisheim. He has just recieved another form of accolade by appearing as a caricature in a comics strip published in Belgium by Dupuis: Hunting Stars. Very symbolic. In December 2004, Alain Carion was with the team of Philippe Paillou during their second trip to their newly-discovered field of impact craters in southern Egypt, the largest found on Earth.

His son Louis Carion had the honor of traveling with Theodore Monod to Mauritania and Egypt, and he has been the expert attached to several organized tours, focused on meteorite hunting. Together, Alain and Louis have explored many deserts and have discovered close to a hundred of those extraordinary rocks.

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