The Solar System was formed more than 4,560 million years ago from a swirling cloud of hot gas, dust and ice orbiting the Sun. Earth was one of just eight large planets to form but many other much smaller planets also formed and have remained virtually unchanged since that time.
Fragments from these small planets, or asteroids, occasionally fall to Earth as meteorites and their study tells us much about how – and when the Solar System formed.
The Origins gallery displays just a few of the different types of meteorites and also examples of some that have fallen in Ireland.
To find out more about meteorites, come along to the Meteorites Tamed! Lecture series, given by museum expert Dr Mike Simms, starting on Monday 22nd October at 7.30.
Image caption: Cut and etched surface of an iron meteorite from Namibia, showing the unique crystal structure.
This exhibition is on display in area 19 of the Nature Zone and is free to attend (download the museum map, PDF 290KB)