Momentary streaks of light flashing across the night sky, called "shooting stars", are produced when meteors from outer space burn up as they come crashing to Earth. Occasionally, a meteor will survive the fiery trip through the atmosphere, land, and be recovered—it is then called a meteorite. The history of meteorite investigations is rich with the adventure of discovery, and this discovery continues in the present, whether searching for and discovering a new meteorite or acting as a scientific detective and discovering from meteorites new understandings about the nature of our planet and the solar system. My adventure is the latter type; I am a scientist and scientific meteorite detective.

Figure 1. Contemporary depiction of a meteorite fall in Thuringia, Germany, in 1581.

In virtually every scientific endeavor, scientists, particularly those who work in laboratories, keep meticulous records so they can track their progress and repeat their procedures. They know why and how they started, what materials, conditions, and equipment were employed, and what they did to end up with the final results they obtained. Now envision the formation of the solar system about 4½ billion years ago as occurring in God's or Mother Nature's great laboratory. There were no detailed records kept, just the meteorites: fragmental remains from the time when our solar system was forming, the clue-bearing bits and pieces. The task of the scientific meteorite detective is to arrange these seemingly independent clues into a logical sequence so that causal relationships become evident and reveal the nature of processes operant in that ancient time. That's what I do.

Seismological measurements of earthquake waves, augmented by studies of Earth's spin, can reveal the structure and physical states of matter within our planet, but not its chemical composition. Presently, the chemical composition of the various layers within the Earth necessarily must come from inferences drawn from meteorites. Here I present the historical highlights—the ups and downs—of meteorite investigations that focus specifically upon the science of our planet. Along the way, I show the logical progression of understanding that ultimately led me to discover a new indivisible geoscience paradigm that begins with and is the consequence of our planet's early formation as a Jupiter-like gas giant and which permits deduction of (1) Earth's internal composition and highly-reduced oxidation state; (2) core formation without whole-planet melting; (3) powerful new internal energy sources, protoplanetary energy of compression, and georeactor nuclear fission energy; (4) a mechanism for heat emplacement at the base of the crust; (5) georeactor geomagnetic field generation; and (6) decompression-driven geodynamics that account for the myriad of observations attributed to plate tectonics without requiring physically impossible mantle convection [Indivisible Earth: Consequences of Earth's Early Formation as a Jupiter-like Gas Giant, Thinker Media, Inc.]. I then broaden the perspective to include implications for the nature of other planets.