Meteorites, the “Poor Man’s Space Probe,” are important because they contain the oldest solar system
materials for research and sample a wide range of parent body—exteriors and interiors—some primitive, some highly evolved. Meteorites record certain solar and galactic effects and yield otherwise unobtainable data relevant to the genesis, evolution, and composition of the Earth, other major planets, satellites, asteroids, and the Sun. Some contain inclusions created before solar system formation; others contain organic matter produced on grain boundaries in the early nebula and/or in giant interstellar clouds. Meteorites also constitute important “ground truth” in a chemical and physical sense, critical to interpreting planetary data obtained by remote sensing. Most importantly, meteorites are on Earth, available for laboratory study by the simplest to the most sophisticated analytical techniques. If one picture is worth 10,000 words, then one sample is worth 10,000 pictures. Even though meteorites are only tiny source-fragments, proper integration of data from them can better describe their sources, just as a more complete mosaic can be deduced from a few tesserae.