A meteorite is the remains of a meteoroid that has survived the ablation of its surface during its passage through the atmosphere as a meteor and has impacted upon the ground. Some meteorites are even older than any of the earth’s rocks and may have traveled through space for millions of years before being captured by the gravity of the sun, our own planet earth, the moon, or some other planet.
Most meteorites arrived on Earth from three well determined sources. They are classified based on their origin, composition, and where they were discovered. Meteorites which are found after their fireball was witnessed are called 'falls', but if found accidentally long after their arrival they are called 'finds'. Meteorites are named after the locality where they have fallen (town, county, property, river, valley, mountain etc.)
The vast majority (97%) of meteorites originate from asteroids. Some also come from the Moon and a few from Mars. From chemical, geological and isotopic analysis, we can usually determine exactly where they came from.